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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the transition period from [ ] to [ ]
402641839_logotree10.jpg
HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Maryland
001-13100
56-1871668
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(Commission File Number)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
 
HIGHWOODS REALTY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
North Carolina
000-21731
56-1869557
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(Commission File Number)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
 
3100 Smoketree Court, Suite 600
Raleigh, NC 27604
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
919-872-4924
(Registrants’ telephone number, including area code)
___________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Trading Symbol(s)
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $.01 par value, of Highwoods Properties, Inc.
HIW
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
NONE
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Highwoods Properties, Inc.  Yes      No     Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership  Yes      No
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act.
Highwoods Properties, Inc.  Yes      No     Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership  Yes      No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Highwoods Properties, Inc.  Yes      No     Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership  Yes      No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Highwoods Properties, Inc.  Yes      No     Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership  Yes      No



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of 'large accelerated filer,' 'accelerated filer,' 'smaller reporting company,' and 'emerging growth company' in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Highwoods Properties, Inc.
Large accelerated filer     Accelerated filer     Non-accelerated filer    Smaller reporting company    Emerging growth company
Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership
Large accelerated filer     Accelerated filer     Non-accelerated filer    Smaller reporting company    Emerging growth company
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Highwoods Properties, Inc.          Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership   
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act).
Highwoods Properties, Inc.  Yes      No     Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership  Yes      No
 
The aggregate market value of shares of Common Stock of Highwoods Properties, Inc. held by non-affiliates (based upon the closing sale price on the New York Stock Exchange) on June 30, 2019 was approximately $4.2 billion. At January 24, 2020, there were 103,783,857 shares of Common Stock outstanding.
 
There is no public trading market for the Common Units of Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership. As a result, an aggregate market value of the Common Units of Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership cannot be determined.
 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
 
Portions of the Proxy Statement of Highwoods Properties, Inc. to be filed in connection with its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held May 12, 2020 are incorporated by reference in Part II, Item 5 and Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

 




EXPLANATORY NOTE

We refer to Highwoods Properties, Inc. as the “Company,” Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership as the “Operating Partnership,” the Company’s common stock as “Common Stock” or “Common Shares,” the Company’s preferred stock as “Preferred Stock” or “Preferred Shares,” the Operating Partnership’s common partnership interests as “Common Units” and the Operating Partnership’s preferred partnership interests as “Preferred Units." References to “we” and “our” mean the Company and the Operating Partnership, collectively, unless the context indicates otherwise.

The Company conducts its activities through the Operating Partnership and is its sole general partner. The partnership agreement provides that the Operating Partnership will assume and pay when due, or reimburse the Company for payment of, all costs and expenses relating to the ownership and operations of, or for the benefit of, the Operating Partnership. The partnership agreement further provides that all expenses of the Company are deemed to be incurred for the benefit of the Operating Partnership.

Certain information contained herein is presented as of January 24, 2020, the latest practicable date for financial information prior to the filing of this Annual Report.

This report combines the Annual Reports on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2019 of the Company and the Operating Partnership. We believe combining the annual reports into this single report results in the following benefits:

combined reports better reflect how management and investors view the business as a single operating unit;

combined reports enhance investors' understanding of the Company and the Operating Partnership by enabling them to view the business as a whole and in the same manner as management;

combined reports are more efficient for the Company and the Operating Partnership and result in savings in time, effort and expense; and

combined reports are more efficient for investors by reducing duplicative disclosure and providing a single document for their review.

To help investors understand the significant differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report presents the following separate sections for each of the Company and the Operating Partnership:

Item 6 - Selected Financial Data;

Item 9A - Controls and Procedures;

Item 15 - Certifications of CEO and CFO Pursuant to Sections 302 and 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;

Consolidated Financial Statements; and

the following Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements:

Note 11 - Equity;

Note 15 - Earnings Per Share and Per Unit; and

Note 18 - Quarterly Financial Data.





HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES, INC.
HIGHWOODS REALTY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Item No.
 
Page
 
PART I
 
1.
1A.
1B.
2.
3.
X.
 
 
 
 
PART II
 
5.
6.
7.
7A.
8.
9.
9A.
9B.
 
 
 
 
PART III
 
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
 
 
 
 
PART IV
 
15.


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Table of Contents

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS
 
General
 
Highwoods Properties, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh, is a publicly-traded real estate investment trust ("REIT"). The Company is a fully integrated office REIT that owns, develops, acquires, leases and manages properties primarily in the best business districts (BBDs) of Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa. Our Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") under the symbol "HIW."

At December 31, 2019, the Company owned all of the Preferred Units and 103.3 million, or 97.4%, of the Common Units in the Operating Partnership. Limited partners owned the remaining 2.7 million Common Units. Generally, the Operating Partnership is obligated to redeem each Common Unit at the request of the holder thereof for cash equal to the value of one share of Common Stock based on the average of the market price for the 10 trading days immediately preceding the notice date of such redemption, provided that the Company, at its option, may elect to acquire any such Common Units presented for redemption for cash or one share of Common Stock. The Common Units owned by the Company are not redeemable.
 
The Company was incorporated in Maryland in 1994. The Operating Partnership was formed in North Carolina in 1994. Our executive offices are located at 3100 Smoketree Court, Suite 600, Raleigh, NC 27604, and our telephone number is (919) 872-4924.
 
Our primary business is the operation, acquisition and development of office properties, which accounted for more than 97% of our annualized cash rental revenues as of December 31, 2019. There are no material inter-segment transactions. See Note 17 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of the rental and other revenues, net operating income and assets for each reportable segment.

Our website is www.highwoods.com. In addition to this Annual Report, all quarterly and current reports, proxy statements, interactive data and other information are made available, without charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed or furnished with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Information on our website is not considered part of this Annual Report.
 
During 2019, the Company filed unqualified Section 303A certifications with the NYSE. The Company and the Operating Partnership have also filed the CEO and CFO certifications required by Sections 302 and 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 as exhibits to this Annual Report.
 
Business and Operating Strategy
 
Our Strategic Plan focuses on:
 
owning high-quality, differentiated office buildings in the BBDs of our core markets;

improving the operating results of our properties through concentrated leasing, asset management, cost control and customer service efforts;

developing and acquiring office buildings in BBDs that improve the overall quality of our portfolio and generate attractive returns over the long term for our stockholders;

disposing of properties no longer considered to be core assets primarily due to location, age, quality and/or overall strategic fit; and

maintaining a balance sheet with ample liquidity to meet our funding needs and growth prospects. 

Local Market Leadership. We focus our real estate activities in markets where we have extensive local knowledge and own a significant amount of assets. Our real estate professionals are seasoned and have significant experience managing commercial real estate through all aspects of multiple economic cycles. Our senior leadership team has significant experience and maintains important relationships with market participants in each of our core markets.
 
Customer Service-Oriented Organization. We provide a complete line of real estate services to our customers. We believe that our in-house leasing and asset management, development, acquisition and construction management services generally allow

4

Table of Contents

us to respond to the many demands of our existing and potential customer base. We provide our customers with cost-effective services such as build-to-suit construction and space modification, including tenant improvements and expansions. In addition, the breadth of our capabilities and resources provides us with market information not generally available. We believe that operating efficiencies achieved through our integrated organization and the strength of our balance sheet also provide a competitive advantage in retaining existing customers and attracting new customers as well as setting our rental rates and pricing other services. In addition, our relationships with our customers may lead to development projects when these customers seek new space.
 
Geographic Diversification. Our core portfolio consists primarily of office properties in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa. We do not believe that our operations are significantly dependent upon any particular geographic market.
 
Conservative and Flexible Balance Sheet. We are committed to maintaining a conservative and flexible balance sheet with access to ample liquidity, multiple sources of debt and equity capital and sufficient availability under our revolving credit facility to fund our short and long-term liquidity requirements. Our balance sheet also allows us to proactively assure our existing and prospective customers that we are able to fund tenant improvements and maintain our properties in good condition while retaining the flexibility to capitalize on favorable development and acquisition opportunities as they arise.
 
Competition
 
Our properties compete for customers with similar properties located in our markets primarily on the basis of location, rent, services provided and the design, quality and condition of the facilities. We also compete with other domestic and foreign REITs, financial institutions, pension funds, partnerships, individual investors and others when attempting to acquire, develop and operate properties.

Sustainability

We are firmly committed to our intrinsic and societal responsibility to routinely minimize all environmental impacts resulting from our development and operation of our properties. We are devoted to creating healthy and productive workspaces for our customers and communities. More information regarding our sustainability strategy is available under the “Service Not Space/Sustainability” section of our website. Information on our website is not considered part of this Annual Report.

Employees
 
At December 31, 2019, we had 431 full-time employees.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
 
An investment in our securities involves various risks. Investors should carefully consider the following risk factors in conjunction with the other information contained in this Annual Report before trading in our securities. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, results of operations, prospects and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Adverse economic conditions in our markets that negatively impact the demand for office space, such as high unemployment, may result in lower occupancy and rental rates for our portfolio, which would adversely affect our results of operations. Our operating results depend heavily on successfully leasing and operating the office space in our portfolio. Economic growth and office employment levels in our core markets are important factors, among others, in predicting our future operating results.

The key components affecting our rental and other revenues are average occupancy, rental rates, cost recovery income, new developments placed in service, acquisitions and dispositions. Average occupancy generally increases during times of improving economic growth, as our ability to lease space outpaces vacancies that occur upon the expirations of existing leases. Average occupancy generally declines during times of slower or negative economic growth, when new vacancies tend to outpace our ability to lease space. In addition, the timing of changes in occupancy levels tends to lag the timing of changes in overall economic activity and employment levels. For additional information regarding our average occupancy and rental rate trends over the past five years, see “Item 2. Properties.” Lower rental revenues that result from lower average occupancy or lower rental rates with respect to our same property portfolio will adversely affect our results of operations unless offset by the impact of any newly acquired or developed properties or lower variable operating expenses, general and administrative expenses and/or interest expense.


5

Table of Contents

We face considerable competition in the leasing market and may be unable to renew existing leases or re-let space on terms similar to the existing leases, or we may spend significant capital in our efforts to renew and re-let space, which may adversely affect our results of operations. In addition to seeking to increase our average occupancy by leasing current vacant space, we also concentrate our leasing efforts on renewing existing leases. Because we compete with a number of other developers, owners and operators of office and office-oriented, mixed-use properties, we may be unable to renew leases with our existing customers and, if our current customers do not renew their leases, we may be unable to re-let the space to new customers. To the extent that we are able to renew existing leases or re-let such space to new customers, heightened competition resulting from adverse market conditions may require us to utilize rent concessions and tenant improvements to a greater extent than we anticipate or have historically. Further, changes in space utilization by our customers due to technology, economic conditions and business culture also affect the occupancy of our properties. As a result, customers may seek to downsize by leasing less space from us upon any renewal.

If our competitors offer space at rental rates below current market rates or below the rental rates we currently charge our customers, we may lose existing and potential customers, and we may be pressured to reduce our rental rates below those we currently charge in order to retain customers upon expiration of their existing leases. Even if our customers renew their leases or we are able to re-let the space, the terms and other costs of renewal or re-letting, including the cost of required renovations, increased tenant improvement allowances, leasing commissions, reduced rental rates and other potential concessions, may be less favorable than the terms of our current leases and could require significant capital expenditures. From time to time, we may also agree to modify the terms of existing leases to incentivize customers to renew their leases. If we are unable to renew leases or re-let space in a reasonable time, or if our rental rates decline or our tenant improvement costs, leasing commissions or other costs increase, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

Difficulties or delays in renewing leases with large customers or re-leasing space vacated by large customers could materially impact our results of operations. Our 20 largest customers account for a meaningful portion of our revenues. See “Item 2. Properties - Customers” and “Item 2. Properties - Lease Expirations.” There are no assurances that these customers, or any of our other large customers, will renew all or any of their space upon expiration of their current leases.

Some of our leases provide customers with the right to terminate their leases early, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Certain of our leases permit our customers to terminate their leases as to all or a portion of the leased premises prior to their stated lease expiration dates under certain circumstances, such as providing notice by a certain date and, in many cases, paying a termination fee. To the extent that our customers exercise early termination rights, our results of operations will be adversely affected, and we can provide no assurances that we will be able to generate an equivalent amount of net effective rent by leasing the vacated space to others.

Our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected by financial difficulties experienced by a major customer, or by a number of smaller customers, including bankruptcies, insolvencies or general downturns in business. Our operations depend on the financial stability of our customers. A default by a significant customer on its lease payments would cause us to lose the revenue and any other amounts due under such lease. In the event of a customer default or bankruptcy, we may experience delays in enforcing our rights as landlord and may incur substantial costs re-leasing the property. We cannot evict a customer solely because of its bankruptcy. On the other hand, a court might authorize the customer to reject and terminate its lease. In such case, our claim against the bankrupt customer for unpaid, future rent would be subject to a statutory cap that might be substantially less than the remaining rent actually owed under the lease. As a result, our claim for unpaid rent would likely not be paid in full and we may be required to write-off deferred leasing costs and recognize credit losses on accrued straight-line rents receivable. These events could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

An oversupply of space in our markets often causes rental rates and occupancies to decline, making it more difficult for us to lease space at attractive rental rates, if at all. Undeveloped land in many of the markets in which we operate is generally more readily available and less expensive than in higher barrier-to-entry markets such as New York and San Francisco. As a result, even during times of positive economic growth, we and/or our competitors could construct new buildings that would compete with our existing properties. Any such oversupply could result in lower occupancy and rental rates in our portfolio, which would have a negative impact on our results of operations.

In order to maintain and/or increase the quality of our properties and successfully compete against other properties, we regularly must spend money to maintain, repair, renovate and improve our properties, which could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations. If our properties are not as attractive to customers due to physical condition as properties owned by our competitors, we could lose customers or suffer lower rental rates. As a result, we may from time to time make significant capital expenditures to maintain or enhance the competitiveness of our properties. There can be no assurances that any such expenditures would result in higher occupancy or higher rental rates or deter existing customers from relocating to properties owned by our competitors.

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Costs of complying with governmental laws and regulations may adversely affect our results of operations. All real property and the operations conducted on real property are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to environmental protection and human health and safety. Some of these laws and regulations may impose joint and several liability on customers, owners or operators for the costs to investigate or remediate contaminated properties, regardless of fault or whether the acts causing the contamination were legal. In addition, the presence of hazardous substances, or the failure to properly remediate these substances, may hinder our ability to sell, rent or pledge such property as collateral for future borrowings.

Compliance with new laws or regulations or stricter interpretation of existing laws may require us to incur significant expenditures. Future laws or regulations may impose significant environmental liability. Additionally, our customers' operations, operations in the vicinity of our properties, such as the presence of underground storage tanks, or activities of unrelated third parties may affect our properties. In addition, there are various local, state and federal fire, health, life-safety and similar regulations with which we may be required to comply and that may subject us to liability in the form of fines or damages for noncompliance. Any expenditures, fines or damages we must pay would adversely affect our results of operations. Proposed legislation to address climate change could increase utility and other costs of operating our properties.

Discovery of previously undetected environmentally hazardous conditions may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Under various federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, a current or previous property owner or operator may be liable for the cost to remove or remediate hazardous or toxic substances on such property. These costs could be significant. Such laws often impose liability whether or not the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of such hazardous or toxic substances. Environmental laws also may impose restrictions on the manner in which property may be used or businesses may be operated, and these restrictions may require significant expenditures or prevent us from entering into leases with prospective customers that may be impacted by such laws. Environmental laws provide for sanctions for noncompliance and may be enforced by governmental agencies or private parties. Certain environmental laws and common law principles could be used to impose liability for release of and exposure to hazardous substances, including asbestos-containing materials. Third parties may seek recovery from real property owners or operators for personal injury or property damage associated with exposure to released hazardous substances. The cost of defending against claims of liability, of complying with environmental regulatory requirements, of remediating any contaminated property, or of paying personal injury claims could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Our same property results of operations would suffer if costs of operating our properties, such as real estate taxes, utilities, insurance, maintenance and other costs, rise faster than our ability to increase rental revenues and/or cost recovery income. While we receive additional rent from our customers that is based on recovering a portion of operating expenses, increased operating expenses will negatively impact our results of operations. Our revenues, including cost recovery income, are subject to longer-term leases and may not be quickly increased sufficient to recover an increase in operating costs and expenses. Furthermore, the costs associated with owning and operating a property are not necessarily reduced when circumstances such as market factors and competition cause a reduction in rental revenues from the property. Increases in same property operating expenses would adversely affect our results of operations unless offset by higher rental rates, higher cost recovery income, the impact of any newly acquired or developed properties, lower general and administrative expenses and/or lower interest expense.

Recent and future acquisitions and development properties may fail to perform in accordance with our expectations and may require renovation and development costs exceeding our estimates. In the normal course of business, we typically evaluate potential acquisitions, enter into non-binding letters of intent, and may, at any time, enter into contracts to acquire additional properties. Acquired properties may fail to perform in accordance with our expectations due to lease-up risk, renovation cost risks and other factors. In addition, the renovation and improvement costs we incur in bringing an acquired property up to our standards may exceed our original estimates. We may not have the financial resources to make suitable acquisitions or renovations on favorable terms or at all.

Further, we face significant competition for attractive investment opportunities from an indeterminate number of other real estate investors, including investors with significantly greater capital resources and access to capital than we have, such as domestic and foreign corporations and financial institutions, publicly-traded and privately-held REITs, private institutional investment funds, investment banking firms, life insurance companies and pension funds. Moreover, owners of office properties may be reluctant to sell, resulting in fewer acquisition opportunities. As a result of such increased competition and limited opportunities, we may be unable to acquire additional properties or the purchase price of such properties may be significantly elevated, which would reduce our expected return from making any such acquisitions.


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In addition to acquisitions, we periodically consider developing or re-developing properties. Risks associated with development and re-development activities include:

the unavailability of favorable financing;

construction costs exceeding original estimates;

construction and lease-up delays resulting in increased debt service expense and construction costs; and

lower than anticipated occupancy rates and rents causing a property to be unprofitable or less profitable than originally estimated.

Development and re-development activities are also subject to risks relating to our ability to obtain, or delays in obtaining, any necessary zoning, land-use, building, occupancy and other required governmental and utility company authorizations. Further, we hold and expect to continue to acquire non-income producing land for future development. See "Item 2. Properties - Land Held for Development." No assurances can be provided as to when, if ever, we will commence development projects on such land or if any such development projects would be on favorable terms. The fixed costs of acquiring and owning development land, such as the ongoing payment of property taxes, adversely affects our results of operations until such land is either placed in service or sold.

Illiquidity of real estate investments and the tax effect of dispositions could significantly impede our ability to sell assets or respond to favorable or adverse changes in the performance of our properties. Because real estate investments are relatively illiquid, our ability to promptly sell one or more properties in our portfolio in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions is limited. We intend to continue to sell some of our properties in the future as part of our investment strategy and activities. However, we cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any property for the price or on the terms set by us, or whether the price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and close the sale of a property.

Certain of our properties have low tax bases relative to their estimated current market values, and accordingly, the sale of such assets would generate significant taxable gains unless we sold such properties in a tax-deferred exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code or another tax-free or tax-deferred transaction. For an exchange to qualify for tax-deferred treatment under Section 1031, the net proceeds from the sale of a property must be held by an escrow agent until applied toward the purchase of real estate qualifying for gain deferral. Given the competition for properties meeting our investment criteria, there could be a delay in reinvesting such proceeds or we may be unable to reinvest such proceeds at all. Any delay or limitation in using the reinvestment proceeds to acquire additional income producing assets could adversely affect our near-term results of operations. Additionally, in connection with tax-deferred 1031 transactions, our restricted cash balances may be commingled with other funds being held by any such escrow agent, which subjects our balance to the credit risk of the institution. If we sell properties outright in taxable transactions, we may elect to distribute some or all of the taxable gain to our stockholders under the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code for REITs, which in turn could negatively affect our future results of operations and may increase our leverage. If a transaction's gain that is intended to qualify as a Section 1031 deferral is later determined to be taxable, we may face adverse consequences, and if the laws applicable to such transactions are amended or repealed, we may not be able to dispose of properties on a tax-deferred basis.

Our use of joint ventures may limit our flexibility with jointly owned investments. In appropriate circumstances, we own, develop and acquire properties in joint ventures with other persons or entities when circumstances warrant the use of these structures. Types of joint venture investments include noncontrolling ownership interests in entities such as partnerships and limited liability companies and tenant-in-common interests in which we own less than 100% of the undivided interests in a real estate asset. Our participation in joint ventures is subject to the risks that:

we could become engaged in a dispute with any of our joint venture partners that might affect our ability to develop or operate a property;

our joint ventures are subject to debt and the refinancing of such debt may require equity capital calls;

our joint venture partners may default on their obligations necessitating that we fulfill their obligation ourselves;

our joint venture partners may have different objectives than we have regarding the appropriate timing and terms of any renovation, sale or refinancing of properties;


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our joint venture partners may be structured differently than us for tax purposes, which could create conflicts of interest; and

our joint venture partners may have competing interests in our markets that could create conflicts of interest.

Our insurance coverage on our properties may be inadequate. We carry insurance on all of our properties, including insurance for liability, fire, windstorms, floods, earthquakes, environmental concerns and business interruption. Insurance companies, however, limit or exclude coverage against certain types of losses, such as losses due to terrorist acts, named windstorms, earthquakes and toxic mold. Thus, we may not have insurance coverage, or sufficient insurance coverage, against certain types of losses and/or there may be decreases in the insurance coverage available. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of our insured limits occur, we could lose all or a portion of the capital we have invested in a property or properties, as well as the anticipated future operating income from the property or properties. If any of our properties were to experience a catastrophic loss, it could disrupt our operations, delay revenue, result in large expenses to repair or rebuild the property and/or damage our reputation among our customers and investors generally. Further, if any of our insurance carriers were to become insolvent, we would be forced to replace the existing insurance coverage with another suitable carrier, and any outstanding claims would be at risk for collection. In such an event, we cannot be certain that we would be able to replace the coverage at similar or otherwise favorable terms. Such events could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We have obtained title insurance policies for each of our properties, typically in an amount equal to its original purchase price.  However, these policies may be for amounts less than the current or future values of our properties, particularly for land parcels on which we subsequently construct a building. In such event, if there is a title defect relating to any of our properties, we could lose some of the capital invested in and anticipated profits from such property.

Our use of debt could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. We are subject to risks associated with debt financing, such as the sufficiency of cash flow to meet required payment obligations, ability to comply with financial ratios and other covenants and the availability of capital to refinance existing indebtedness or fund important business initiatives. If we breach covenants in our debt agreements, the lenders can declare a default and, if the debt is secured, can take possession of the property securing the defaulted loan. In addition, certain of our unsecured debt agreements contain cross-default provisions giving the unsecured lenders the right to declare a default if we are in default under more than $30.0 million with respect to other loans in some circumstances. Unwaived defaults under our debt agreements could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Further, we obtain credit ratings from Moody's Investors Service and Standard and Poor's Rating Services based on their evaluation of our creditworthiness. These agencies' ratings are based on a number of factors, some of which are not within our control. In addition to factors specific to our financial strength and performance, the rating agencies also consider conditions affecting REITs generally. We cannot assure you that our credit ratings will not be downgraded. If our credit ratings are downgraded or other negative action is taken, we could be required, among other things, to pay additional interest and fees on outstanding borrowings under our revolving credit facility and bank term loans.

We generally do not intend to reserve funds to retire existing debt upon maturity. We may not be able to repay, refinance or extend any or all of our debt at maturity or upon any acceleration. If any refinancing is done at higher interest rates, the increased interest expense could adversely affect our cash flow and ability to pay distributions. Any such refinancing could also impose tighter financial ratios and other covenants that restrict our ability to take actions that could otherwise be in our best interest, such as funding new development activity, making opportunistic acquisitions, repurchasing our securities or paying distributions. While we do not currently have significant amounts of mortgage debt, we may in the future mortgage additional properties, which could also restrict our ability to sell any such underlying assets. If we do not meet any such mortgage financing obligations, any properties securing such indebtedness could be foreclosed on.

We depend on our revolving credit facility for working capital purposes and for the short-term funding of our development and acquisition activity and, in certain instances, the repayment of other debt upon maturity. Our ability to borrow under the revolving credit facility also allows us to quickly capitalize on opportunities at short-term interest rates. If our lenders default under their obligations under the revolving credit facility or we become unable to borrow additional funds under the facility for any reason, we would be required to seek alternative equity or debt capital, which could be more costly and adversely impact our financial condition. If such alternative capital were unavailable, we may not be able to make new investments and could have difficulty repaying other debt.

Increases in interest rates would increase our interest expense. At December 31, 2019, we had $471.0 million of variable rate debt outstanding not protected by interest rate hedge contracts. We may incur additional variable rate debt in the future. If interest rates increase, then so would the interest expense on our unhedged variable rate debt, which could adversely affect our

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financial condition and results of operations. From time to time, we manage our exposure to interest rate risk with interest rate hedge contracts that effectively fix or cap a portion of our variable rate debt. In addition, we utilize fixed rate debt at market rates. If interest rates decrease, the fair market value of any existing interest rate hedge contracts or outstanding fixed-rate debt would decline.

Our efforts to manage these exposures may not be successful. Our use of interest rate hedge contracts to manage risk associated with interest rate volatility may expose us to additional risks, including a risk that a counterparty to a hedge contract may fail to honor its obligations. Developing an effective interest rate risk strategy is complex and no strategy can completely insulate us from risks associated with interest rate fluctuations. There can be no assurance that our hedging activities will have the desired beneficial impact on our results of operations or financial condition. Termination of interest rate hedge contracts typically involves costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs.

Our revolving credit facility and bank term loans bear interest at a spread above LIBOR. In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) that regulates LIBOR announced it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. As a result, a committee formed by the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as its preferred alternative to LIBOR in financial contracts. We are not able to predict when LIBOR will cease to be available or when there will be sufficient liquidity in the SOFR markets. The method of transitioning the interest rate under our variable rate debt from LIBOR to SOFR or another alternative rate may be challenging. If our revolving credit facility and/or any of our bank term loans are not transitioned to a satisfactory alternative rate and LIBOR is discontinued, the interest rates on our unhedged variable rate debt may be adversely affected. While we expect LIBOR to be available in substantially its current form until the end of 2021, it is possible that LIBOR will become unavailable prior to that point. In that case, the risks associated with the transition to an alternative reference rate will be accelerated and magnified.

Failure to comply with Federal government contractor requirements could result in substantial costs and loss of substantial revenue. We are subject to compliance with a wide variety of complex legal requirements because we are a Federal government contractor. These laws regulate how we conduct business, require us to administer various compliance programs and require us to impose compliance responsibilities on some of our contractors. Our failure to comply with these laws could subject us to fines and penalties, cause us to be in default of our leases and other contracts with the Federal government and bar us from entering into future leases and other contracts with the Federal government.

We face risks associated with security breaches through cyber attacks, cyber intrusions or otherwise, as well as other significant disruptions of our information technology (IT) networks and related systems. We face risks associated with security breaches, whether through cyber attacks or cyber intrusions over the Internet, malware, computer viruses, attachments to e-mails, persons inside our organization or persons with access to systems inside our organization, and other significant disruptions of our IT networks and related systems. The risk of a security breach or disruption, particularly through cyber attack or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, foreign governments and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. Our IT networks and related systems are essential to the operation of our business and our ability to perform day-to-day operations (including managing our building systems) and, in some cases, may be critical to the operations of certain of our customers. Although we make efforts to maintain the security and integrity of these types of IT networks and related systems, and we have implemented various measures to manage the risk of a security breach or disruption, there can be no assurance that our security efforts and measures will be effective or that attempted security breaches or disruptions would not be successful or damaging. Even the most well protected information, networks, systems and facilities remain potentially vulnerable because the techniques used in such attempted security breaches evolve and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, and in some cases are designed not be detected and, in fact, may not be detected. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate security barriers or other preventative measures, and thus it is impossible for us to entirely mitigate this risk.

A security breach or other significant disruption involving our IT networks and related systems could:

disrupt the proper functioning of our networks and systems and therefore our operations and/or those of certain of our customers;

result in misstated financial reports, violations of loan covenants, missed reporting deadlines and/or missed permitting deadlines;

result in our inability to properly monitor our compliance with the rules and regulations regarding our qualification as a REIT;


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result in the unauthorized access to, and destruction, loss, theft, misappropriation or release of, proprietary, confidential, sensitive or otherwise valuable information of ours or others, which others could use to compete against us or which could expose us to damage claims by third-parties for disruptive, destructive or otherwise harmful purposes and outcomes;

result in our inability to maintain the building systems relied upon by our customers for the efficient use of their leased space;

require significant management attention and resources to remedy any damages that result;

subject us to claims for breach of contract, damages, credits, penalties or termination of leases or other agreements; or

damage our reputation among our customers and investors generally.
 
Any or all of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

The Company may be subject to taxation as a regular corporation if it fails to maintain its REIT status, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's stockholders and on the Operating Partnership. We may be subject to adverse consequences if the Company fails to continue to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. While we intend to operate in a manner that will allow the Company to continue to qualify as a REIT, we cannot provide any assurances that the Company will remain qualified as such in the future, which could have particularly adverse consequences to the Company's stockholders. Many of the requirements for taxation as a REIT are highly technical and complex and depend upon various factual matters and circumstances that may not be entirely within our control. The fact that the Company holds its assets through the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries further complicates the application of the REIT requirements. Even a technical or inadvertent mistake could jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, Congress and the Internal Revenue Service might change the tax laws and regulations and the courts might issue new rulings that make it more difficult, or impossible, for the Company to remain qualified as a REIT. If the Company fails to qualify as a REIT, it would (a) not be allowed a deduction for dividends paid to stockholders in computing its taxable income, (b) be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate rates (and state and local taxes) and (c) unless entitled to relief under the tax laws, not be able to re-elect REIT status until the fifth calendar year after it failed to qualify as a REIT. Additionally, the Company would no longer be required to make distributions. As a result of these factors, the Company's failure to qualify as a REIT could impair our ability to expand our business and adversely affect the price of our Common Stock.

Even if we remain qualified as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT, we may be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, and state or local income, property and transfer taxes. In addition, our taxable REIT subsidiary is subject to regular corporate federal, state and local taxes. Any of these taxes would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities or liquidate otherwise attractive investments. To remain qualified as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our capital stock. In order to meet these tests, we may be required to forego investments we might otherwise make. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our performance.

In particular, we must ensure that at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities (other than government securities, securities of taxable REIT subsidiaries and qualified real estate assets) generally cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer. In addition, in general, no more than 5% of the value of our assets (other than government securities, securities of taxable REIT subsidiaries and qualified real estate assets) can consist of the securities of any one issuer, and no more than 25% of the value of our total assets can be represented by the securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. If we fail to comply with these requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required to liquidate otherwise attractive investments, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.


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The prohibited transactions tax may limit our ability to sell properties. A REIT's net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We may be subject to the prohibited transaction tax equal to 100% of net gain upon a disposition of real property. Although a safe harbor to the characterization of the sale of real property by a REIT as a prohibited transaction is available, we cannot assure you that we can in all cases comply with the safe harbor or that we will avoid owning property that may be characterized as held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. Consequently, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of our properties or may conduct such sales through our taxable REIT subsidiary, which would be subject to federal and state income taxation.

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends. Dividends payable by REITs to U.S. stockholders are taxed at a maximum individual rate of 33.4% (including the 3.8% net investment income tax and after factoring in a 20% deduction for pass-through income). The more favorable rates applicable to regular corporate qualified dividends could cause investors who are taxed at individual rates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the shares of REITs, including our stock.

We face possible tax audits. Because we are organized and qualify as a REIT, we are generally not subject to federal income taxes. We are, however, subject to federal, state and local taxes in certain instances. In the normal course of business, certain entities through which we own real estate have undergone tax audits. Collectively, tax deficiency notices received to date from the jurisdictions conducting previous audits have not been material. However, there can be no assurance that future audits will not occur with increased frequency or that the ultimate result of such audits will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

The price of our Common Stock is volatile and may decline. A number of factors may adversely influence the public market price of our Common Stock. These factors include:

the level of institutional interest in us;

the perceived attractiveness of investment in us, in comparison to other REITs;

the attractiveness of securities of REITs in comparison to other asset classes;

our financial condition and performance;

the market's perception of our growth potential and potential future cash dividends;

government action or regulation, including changes in tax laws;

increases in market interest rates, which may lead investors to expect a higher annual yield from our distributions in relation to the price of our Common Stock;

changes in our credit ratings;

the issuance of additional shares of Common Stock, or the perception that such issuances might occur, including under our equity distribution agreements; and