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HOUSTON-A continuation of asset growth and the paring down of non-core assets have spurred positive third-quarter earnings for AmREIT.

“As of Q3 2005, we grew our total assets to over $312 million, a 12% increase from the quarter before,” Kerr Taylor, the company’s president and CEO told stockholders and analysts in yesterday’s earning call.

Part of that asset growth, says CFO Chad Braun, involved more than $100 million of mostly retail and land acquisitions made so far this year. When the quarter ended, AmREIT realized $5.5 million in new revenue from its real estate activities.

One positive asset acquisition, which occurred on the quarter’s final day, was the purchase of the high-end lifestyle center, the 47,000-sf SouthBank Plaza in San Antonio. Located near the Riverwalk, the property, with tenants like Hard Rock Cafe and Paisano’s, has boasted retail sales of nearly $600 per sf, versus AmREIT’s portfolio average, which falls between $400 per sf and $500 per sf.

Taylor says the acquisition activities will continue throughout this quarter. On the dispositions side, there is one property under contract and a letter of intent on another.Braun notes that, on the occupancy front, AmREIT’s overall portfolio is 95% leased, which is down slightly from the previous quarter. The reason, he explains, is due to two vacancies in Houston’s Uptown Park Plaza although the rent is guaranteed for a full year. He adds the tenants’ departure fits into the company’s master plan for the center. “We’re on the first stage of moving out those tenants that don’t do well,” he adds.

Braun says the portfolio has 65,000 sf that will expire in the coming year. “But beyond that, we have a very evenly weighted rollover schedule,” he says. In Q3, two leases were signed for about 5,000 sf and a pair renewed, totaling 4,000 sf. Rents increased, on average, 3%, with the median per sf rate now $28.

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