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ROCKVILLE, MD-Federal Realty Investment Trust will be focusing at least one-third of its $1 billion pipeline in close-in retail investments in the DC area, with a heavy emphasis of the Bethesda-Rockville market and the stretch along Tysons Corner. “We can put to work $75 million to $100 million a year for the foreseeable future with a $1 billion pipeline,” Don Wood, president and CEO of Federal Realty Investment Trust tells GlobeSt.com.

The company is in an excellent position for acquisitions and development, he adds, as it has only 25% leverage and a $300 million credit that is still available. “In other words, we have a lot of dry powder,” Wood states. Headquartered here, the DC market has naturally been a strong focus for the REIT over the last several decades. It has also expanded to other coastal area markets and now has a strong presence in California, Texas and the East Coast, from Boston to DC.

Even though its exposure to the local market became somewhat diluted as it expanded elsewhere, the company is very bullish on retail here–but only in certain circumstances, Wood said. Specifically, he likes close-in areas–and nothing in the District itself. Retail is beginning to hurt in the downturn, with many firms deciding to scale back on expansion plans. “Valuations have not changed that much in the great locations, but they have retreated a lot in far out suburbs.”

The firm’s investment in Rockville’s Mid-Pike plaza is typical of what shareholders can expect to see it make going forward. At the epicenter of Wood’s list of favored investment locations, Mid-Pike Plaza will under go a redevelopment within the next two to three years, he said. Another example is Pike Seven Plaza in Tyson’s Corner, a retail center that is located on the metro line–which Wood noted has been shelved due to pulled federal funding. “But it does well today even without the metro and can be easily exploited if plans for the metro ever do go forward.”

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