Highwoods Properties, the Triangle’s largest office and industrial REIT, expects to increase its stake in the regionover the next few years.

The company’s retrenchment plan began two years ago after investors soured on Highwoods and other real estate investment trusts. Highwoods decided to look internally for funds to continue its growth. The company has sold assets and pulled out of markets with weak growth. It has poured cash from those sales into the Triad and 10 other markets.

Based in Raleigh, Highwoods owns and manages 8.3 million sf of space in the Triad, nearly four times that of its nearest competitor, Liberty Property Trust.

Highwoods has more square footage in the Triad thanin any of its 10 other markets. That’s partly because of its origins in thisarea as Forsyth Partners, the region’s dominant developer in the 1980s and early 1990s.

By the end of the year, the company expects to complete another half millionsf of space in the Triad. Within the next five years it expects to add twomillion sf. offices and warehouses will be constructed on more than 200 acres Highwoods owns throughout the Triad, most of it inprime locations.

For example, the company owns 80 acres of the former Jefferson Pilot employees club property on New Garden Road. It expects to announce in the next few weeks plans for an office park overlooking the lake.

The tract is zoned for 800,000 sf of offices. It also includes land along New Garden forbanks, restaurants and other retail uses.

Near Piedmont Triad International Airport, Highwoods has begun building inEnterprise Park, a 70-acre tract where the company can erect up to one millionsf of distribution space. Its first building, consisting of 160,000 sf,should be complete by the end of the year.

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