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First Industrial Realty Trust's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

As part of our leasing in the quarter, we made some headway on the top 10 largest strategic vacancies we outlined at Investor Day. Within this group, we completed leases for a 150,000 square feet in Chicago, a 166,000 square feet in Philadelphia, and an opportunistic sale totaling 384,000 square feet in the Inland Empire.

We still have work to do with this group but we view these prosperities as a major part of our internal growth opportunity as they are well located functional distribution buildings that can meet the needs of a wide range of tenants.

As of yearend, this roster represents approximately 275 basis points of potential occupancy growth compared to 320 basis points stated on Investor Day.

Same-store NOI on a cash basis excluding termination fees was in positive territory for the second quarter in a row at 0.5%. Our rental rate change was negative 11.3% in the quarter and negative 11.8% for the year in line with our forecast. We still face headway in redoing leases signed near market peaks of 2007 and 2008. As the leasing market continues to recover we are focused on structuring leases with above average escalations to help mitigate the impact of rent roll downs.

For 2012, we expect steady absorption to continue for the industrial real estate market supported by the backdrop of moderate growth in the economy and new supply being limited to a handful of markets, and almost exclusively to larger warehouse distribution product.

In our portfolio we will see a dip in occupancy in the first quarter due to typical seasonality plus the impact of a 700,000 square foot lease term expiration in Columbus that we talked about at Investor Day.

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