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HOUSTON-A continuation of asset growth and the paring down of non-core assets helped drive AmREIT’s third quarter earnings.

“As of Q3 2005, we grew our total assets to over $312 million, a 12% increase from the quarter before,” said Kerr Taylor, the company’s president and CEO during the company’s third quarter earnings call on Thursday.

Part of that asset growth, noted Chad Braun, CFO, involved more than $100 million in acquisitions made so far during 2005, leading to $5.5 million in revenue, generated from real estate activities.

One positive asset acquisition, which occurred on the final day of Q3, was the purchase of the lifestyle high-end retail center, the 47,000 sf South Bank Plaza in San Antonio, TX. Located near the River Walk, the property, with tenants including Hard Rock Café and Paisano’s, has boasted retail sales of nearly $600 per sf, versus the average of between $400 per sf to $500 per sf.

In the meantime, Taylor continued, more of the same will happen in the upcoming quarter. “We’ll be selling higher-yielding, short-term assets, and replacing them with lower-yielding, long-term assets to create a stronger portfolio for our investors,” he noted.

On the occupancy front, AmREIT’s overall portfolio is 95% leased, which is down slightly from the previous quarter. The reason for this, Braun explained, is because of two vacancies that occurred in Houston’s Uptown Park Plaza. The rent is guaranteed for a full year, however, and Kerr adds that the tenants’ departure fits into the company’s master plan of the center. “We’re on the first stage of moving out those tenants that don’t do well,” he added.

In terms of leasing activities, “65,000 sf will expire through the end of 2006,” Braun said, “but beyond that, we have a very evenly weighted rollover schedule.” During the past quarter, two new leases were signed for approximately 5,000 sf, and an average rental rate of $28 per sf; with two leases renewed at 4,000 sf, and an average 3% rental increase.

With dispositions, Braun said AmREIT has one property under contract, and one under a letter of intent, with profits from the sales impacting Q1 earnings in 2006.

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