D.C.-based Washington REIT, the nation’s first real estate investment trust company, has changed its name to Elme Communities, to reflect its focus on owning apartment communities.
The company says Elme is a blending of the words “elevate” and “home,” reflecting its new mission to elevate the quality of rental apartment living.
Last year, Washington REIT announced its intentions to sell virtually all of its D.C. office and retail properties and focus on owning apartment communities. It sold 12 office buildings in D.C., Arlington, Alexandria and Tysons — totaling 2.4 million square feet — to a Brookfield Asset Management private real-estate fund for $776 million.
It also sold several retail properties, including Spring Valley Village, Chevy Chase Metro Center and Montrose Shopping Center last fall to other investors.
Elme Communities, whose multifamily properties are mostly in the D.C. area, has expanded to the Southeast U.S., including Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. It now says 20% of its apartment homes are located in the Sunbelt, compared to 3% a year ago.
The company also expects to report a 14% growth in core funds from operations, a measure of profitability for real estate investment trusts, in 2023. That would be the highest in 20 years.
It is also in the process of taking over the management of its apartment communities.
The company now owns about 8,900 apartments, and still owns about 300,000 square feet of commercial space.
Washington REIT was founded in 1960, the same year Congress established real estate investment trusts as a way to give small investors access to income producing real estate investments.