Wells Reit

Founded in 1997 in Maryland, the Wells Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) opened for business in June 1998. Wells REIT specialized in commercial properties and raised almost $6 billion in equity capital from investors; it closed to new investors in 2003 and maintained solid performance in the real estate market for its shareholders throughout the early 2000s. In August of 2007, Wells REIT officially changed its name to Piedmont Office Realty Trust Inc. While the name had changed, Piedmont’s performance and investment goals remained the same; Piedmont trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol of PDM.


Wells REIT II is also known as Wells REIT 2; it is an externally managed and controlled fund that has invested approximately $12 billion in commercial real estate holdings and currently has around 130,000 investors. Wells REIT II recently closed to new investments; its real estate holdings are located in 23 states in the U.S. as well as properties in Washington D.C. and the country of Russia. Wells REIT II offers exceptional diversification in the real estate market for its shareholders and maintains high leasing rates for its commercial properties, even with the recent real estate industry woes. Wells REIT II president, Leo Wells, indicated that in 2010 approximately 96% of its total U.S. office space was leased and occupied.

Wells REIT

During its nine-year history, Wells REIT was helmed by Leo Wells, an innovator in the field of real estate finance and securities. Wells REIT began and ended as a public company; this meant that it was under constant scrutiny by the SEC. Wells REIT was the largest private real estate trust of its time with investments worth around $3.3 billion in 2003; more importantly, it was one of the first private REITs. In contrast to most other REITs, private REITs cannot be traded on the open stock market, but instead must be bought directly from the private REIT itself. This allows unparalleled control of the securities, since any sales or purchases must be approved by the issuing company; however, this level of hands-on management also comes with higher fees for those shareholders who do manage to purchase shares of private REIT stock.

Piedmont Office Realty Trust Inc.

Since the name change in 2007, Piedmont has revised its operating policies and no longer functions as a private REIT. Instead, it trades on the New York Stock Exchange and produces reliably moderate returns on investment to its shareholders. Piedmont has survived the recent real estate industry downturn remarkably well, and recent credit rating improvements have ensured that Piedmont is in a favorable position to rebound when the economy begins to improve once more.
Tim Ord
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