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HOUSTON-Executives from Weingarten Despite shrugged off a $9.4 million Q3 net loss, pointing instead to continued balance sheet strength and a look toward the future. The net loss for the quarter included a non-cash impairment charge of $46.1 million from a new development program and a $16.5 million from the repurchase of debt securities.

“2009 has been a turbulent year, but I’m proud of the strides this company has made during the past year,” remarked Drew Alexander, Weingarten’s president and CEO. “We’re seeing positive signs of stabilization and we feel we’re through the worst of it. I’m pleased with the operating results posted in the third quarter.”

Even better news, according to executive vice president and CFO Steve Richter, was the reduction of debt maturities by 46% to $485 million through 2011. “We’ve managed to reduce debt maturities by $1 billion since November 2008,” he added. The balance sheet is stronger as well, thanks to various transactions and the completion of the tender of its convertible bonds.

Weingarten executives also announced the first phase of its joint venture with German manager Jamestown. The joint venture is acquiring six assets at a total value of $160 million. Richter said the first phase involves four unencumbered properties that were sold to the JV for $114 million. The two remaining properties have existing mortgages and will close when the Joint Venture assumes those loans.

On the leasing end, vice president of asset management Johnny Hendrix acknowledged that many of the Weingarten tenant retailers are projecting flat sales for Christmas. He said he anticipates a continued roll-down of rents through 2010 and perhaps into 2011. However, “there is not a lot of new space being built,” he remarked.

As a result, Alexander continued, “you’ll see a return to rents that will attract capital based on new construction costs. I’m not sure when the change will happen, but do think it’ll happen a lot quicker than most people anticipate.”

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