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SAN FRANCISCO-AMB Property Corp., a locally based REIT with 128 million sf of distribution properties worldwide, saw its occupancy during the first quarter fall 90 basis points while rents on renewals and rollovers increased by 2.8%.

As of March 31, the company’s portfolio occupancy was 95.2%, which is down from 96.1% at the start of the year but up from March 31, 2006, when occupancy was 94.3%. Offsetting the declining vacancy in 2007 was an increase in rents. Rents on lease renewals and rollovers are 2.8% higher than they were in the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2006, rents on lease renewals and rollovers fell 11.5%.

New development and renovation starts in the quarter totaled approximately 1.9 million sf in five projects in North America and Asia. The estimated investment in those projects is $191 million. The company’s development and renovation pipeline totals 14.7 million sf in 44 projects globally. The estimated total investment to complete the projects is $1.4 billion.

AMB’s development business includes contributions of stabilized properties to affiliated private capital funds and/or the sale of projects to third parties. During the first quarter, the company contributed or sold four development projects totaling 661,300 sf for a gross sale price of $81 million. It also acquired 1.8 million sf in eight properties for $142 million. All but about $22 million of the acquisitions were acquired for two of its co-investment funds: AMB Alliance Fund III and AMB Japan Fund I.

Also during the first quarter, the company issued approximately 8.4 million shares of common stock. It intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes and, over the long term, to expand its global development business, thereby contributing to the growth of its private capital business.

As part of that plan, the company says it will accelerate the pace of its development starts-from a projected $1.1 billion in 2007 to $1.6 billion annually by 2010. The plan includes not only increasing market share in its existing markets but also entering new markets.

In the first quarter, the company entered Korea with a development at Seoul’s international airport and a seaport in Nagoya, Japan with the development of a one million-sf distribution facility. Company officials say it is now seeking “the right opportunity” in India and in Central- and Eastern Europe.

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