NORCROSS, GA-Wells Real Estate Investment Trust has acquired its advisor companies, a move which makes the REIT self-advised and could lead to its shares being listed on a national stock exchange.

The move, which was approved by stockholders last week and closed Tuesday, makes it the largest nontraded office REIT to internalize its management. Wells REIT is a public, nontrading REIT specializing in class A office properties. The REIT had previously been advised by entities affiliated with Wells Real Estate Funds.

Under its charter, Wells REIT must list its shares on the national stock exchange or begin to liquidate its assets by Jan. 30, 2008. Most publicly traded REITs are self-advised and Wells REIT has indicated in its proxy filings that its board of directors intends to consider listing on a national exchange as an option, assuming market conditions and other factors are desirable.

“Internalizing should mean benefits for the financial operations of the REIT over time, and its generally considered to be advantageous for listing on a national stock exchange,” Wells REIT president and CEO Donald Miller.

Wells REIT, the largest fund launched by Wells Real Estate Funds, began operations in June 1998 and was closed to new investors in 2003. It currently has more than 100,000 stockholders. Shares of the company are not currently traded on a national exchange. Rather, the fund was marketed by Wells Real Estate Funds at a fixed share price.

Wells REIT currently owns more than $5 billion in assets, including 82 buildings in 23 states including Washington, DC. “This is a milestone for the REIT,” Miller says. “We believe that this transaction will help position the REIT to advance to the next phase in its operations.”

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