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Highwoods Properties, Inc. Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Such statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Actual results could materially differ from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors, including those identified at the bottom of yesterday’s release and those identified in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, and subsequent reports filed with the SEC.

The company assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events. During this call, we will also discuss non-GAAP financial measures, such as FFO and NOI. Definitions of FFO and NOI and an explanation of management’s view of the usefulness and risks of FFO and NOI can be found toward the bottom of yesterday’s release and are also available on the Investor Relations section of the web at highwoods.com.

I would now like to turn the call over to Ed Fritsch.

Ed Fritsch

Good morning and thank you for joining us today. We are pleased with our first quarter results, with FFO up $0.01 from the fourth quarter and essentially flat from a year ago after adjusting for the debt, equity and disposition transactions we planned and executed last year that enhanced our liquidity for future growth opportunities.

We are seeing increased leasing activity in many of our markets, including potential build-to-suit opportunities. There appears to be some guarded optimism about the economy and we are hopeful this will lead to the beginning of meaningful job growth sometime in 2011. As noted in yesterday’s press release, we leased 1.3 million square feet of space, 75% of which was office. This compares to 851,000 square feet leased in the same quarter a year ago, 64% of which was office. This is the most office space we’ve leased since the second quarter of 2008.

We continue to benefit from a higher quality portfolio, concentrated in better submarkets, a healthy balance sheet, and strong relationships with our customers and the brokerage community. As a result, in every one of our core markets, our office occupancy remains significantly better than the market as a whole.

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