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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, 2020
or
    TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the transition period from [ ] to [ ]
hiw-20201231_g1.jpg
HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Maryland001-1310056-1871668
(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 Carolina000-2173156-1869557
(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 ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $.01 par value, of Highwoods Properties, Inc.HIWNew 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 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, a 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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
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 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, 2020 was approximately $3.8 billion. At January 29, 2021, there were 103,921,110 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 11, 2021 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 29, 2021, 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, 2020 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.

3

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, 2020, the Company owned all of the Preferred Units and 103.5 million, or 97.3%, of the Common Units in the Operating Partnership. Limited partners owned the remaining 2.8 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. 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 2020, 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.

4

Table of Contents


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.
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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 in the Company’s Proxy Statement filed in connection with its annual meeting of stockholders and under the “Service Not Space/Sustainability” section of our website. Information on our website is not considered part of this Annual Report.

Government Regulation

We are subject to laws, rules and regulations of the United States and the states and local municipalities in which we operate, including laws and regulations relating to environmental protection and human health and safety. Compliance with these laws, rules and regulations has not had, and is not expected to have, a material effect on our capital expenditures, results of operations and competitive position as compared to prior periods. For more information about environmental laws and regulations, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to our Operations - Costs of complying with governmental laws and regulations may adversely affect our results of operations.”

Information Security

We face risks associated with security breaches through cyber attacks, cyber intrusions or otherwise, as well as other significant disruptions of our information technology networks and related systems. The audit committee of the Company’s Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing management’s risk assessment and risk management processes designed to
5

Table of Contents


monitor and control information security risk. Management, including the Company’s chief information officer, regularly briefs the audit committee on information security matters. These briefings occur as often as needed, but in no event less than once a year. The Company’s chief information officer also briefs management’s information technology steering committee, which includes the CEO and CFO, as often as needed, but in no event less than four times a year.

We have adopted and implemented an approach to identify and mitigate information security risks that we believe is commercially reasonable for real estate companies, including many of the best practices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology cyber security framework. Since January 1, 2018, we have not experienced any information security breaches that resulted in any financial loss. We have a cyber risk insurance policy designed to help us mitigate risk exposure by offsetting costs involved with recovery and remediation after an information security breach or similar event. We regularly engage independent third parties to test our information security processes and systems as part of our overall enterprise risk management. We regularly conduct information security training to ensure all employees are aware of information security risks and to enable them to take steps to mitigate such risks. As part of this program, we also take reasonable steps to ensure any employee who may come into possession of confidential financial or health information has received appropriate information security awareness training.

Human Capital Resources

We focus our real estate activities in markets where we have extensive local knowledge and own a significant amount of assets. As a result, we operate division offices in Atlanta, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa, which are led by seasoned real estate professionals with significant commercial real estate experience managing across multiple economic cycles. Shared corporate services, such as accounting, technology, development, asset management, marketing, human resources, legal and tax, are primarily based in Raleigh. Our senior leadership team, led by our CEO, is based in Raleigh and oversees all of the Company’s operations.

Fully-Integrated. Unlike some other REITs, which outsource the leasing, management, maintenance and/or customer service of their properties to third parties, we are a fully-integrated REIT that fully staffs the leasing, management, maintenance and customer service of our own portfolio. We believe being a fully-integrated REIT is in the best long-term interests of our stockholders for a number of reasons:

in-house services generally allow us to better anticipate and respond to the many real-time demands of our existing and potential customer base;

we are able to provide our customers with more cost-effective services such as build-to-suit construction and space modification, including tenant improvements and expansions;

the depth and breadth of our capabilities and resources provide us with market information not generally available;

operating efficiencies achieved through our fully-integrated organization provide a competitive advantage in servicing our properties, retaining existing customers and attracting new customers;

we can ensure the consistent deployment of a comprehensive preventative maintenance program;

our established detailed service request process creates chain of custody for a customer request and tracks status and response time, which enables proactive identification of any underperforming equipment and vital reconnaissance for process improvement and leverage when specifying all aspects of any new construction; and

our first-hand relationships with our customers lead to better customer service and often result in customers seeking renewals and additional space.

Above all, being a fully-integrated REIT across these diverse functional areas gives us the benefit of engaging and responding to our customers’ needs as an owner versus a vendor. We believe this distinction, a core component of our Company’s value proposition, translates into improved customer service and higher customer retention.

We had 359 full-time employees as of December 31, 2020, 72 fewer than we had as of December 31, 2019. The reduction in the number of employees was primarily due to our exiting of the Greensboro and Memphis markets and the subsequent closing of those division offices and the resulting synergies garnered from the ongoing simplification of our business. Over the past three years, our average annual turnover rate was less than 10%. As of December 31, 2020, the average tenure of our employees was 10.5 years and the average age was 49.0 years.
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Approximately 69% of our employees work in one of our division offices, most of which are directly involved in the management and maintenance of our portfolio. These include property managers, maintenance engineers and technicians, HVAC technicians and project managers. Personnel salaries and related costs of employees directly involved in the management and maintenance of our portfolio are allocated to our portfolio and recorded as rental property and other expenses. Approximately 2% of our employees work in our corporate development department and are directly involved in our development pipeline. When applicable, personnel salaries and related costs of such development employees are capitalized as a development expenditure. Approximately 4% of our employees are leasing professionals principally responsible for leasing our portfolio. When applicable, commissions and related costs of such leasing employees are capitalized as a leasing expenditure. Generally, all other employee costs are recorded as general and administrative expenses. In 2020, the total cost of our workforce, including salaries, commissions, bonuses, equity and non-equity incentive compensation and employee benefits but excluding one-time severance charges, was approximately $58.5 million.

Approximately 31% of our employees are highly specialized and skilled trade professionals, such as maintenance engineers and technicians and HVAC technicians. The average age of our trade professionals is 51.2 years, which is nearly three years older than the average age of the remainder of our employee base. Like many employers in our markets and throughout the country, we believe there may be an increasing shortage of trade professionals in the future as there may not be enough younger trade professionals entering the workforce to replace retiring workers. To that end, we have been working with the local trade schools in our markets to implement an apprenticeship program to encourage and incentivize younger workers to obtain the technical skills necessary to become a trade professional. In turn, we hope this program will create a pipeline of future maintenance engineers and technicians and HVAC technicians to join our Company.

Total Rewards. We strive to provide career opportunities in an energized, inclusive and collaborative environment tailored to retain, attract and reward highly performing employees. We do so in a culture built on the foundations of collegiality, teamwork, hard work, humility, creativity, humor, respect, acceptance, expertise and dedication to each other, our stockholders and our customers.

Our total rewards program, which includes compensation and comprehensive benefits, is crafted to provide fair and competitive pay, insurance plans and other programs to facilitate an overall work-life balance. The program is designed to incentivize and reward employees and emphasize our commitment to exemplary work.

Our total rewards program is constructed to meet certain objectives, such as:

Competitiveness: Compensate with fair pay for comparable jobs within the current labor market in which we compete for talent (none of our full-time employees earns less than $15.00 per hour);

Fairness: Reward positive and successful achievements through a consistent pay-for-performance approach administered throughout our Company;

Career: Communicate performance expectations and provide career enrichment and/or advancement opportunities to promote our long-term commitment to employees;

Respect: Support a diverse and accepting team striving to maintain balance between career and personal life; and

Culture: Create and preserve an environment where employees are acknowledged, honored and rewarded for hard work, creativity, energy, collegiality, teamwork, initiative and a measured drive to achieve all in an honest and respectful manner.

In addition to offering competitive salaries and wages, we offer comprehensive, locally relevant and innovative benefits to all eligible employees. These include, among other benefits:

Comprehensive health insurance coverage;

Attractive paid time off, including up to 25 vacation days (depending on tenure), two personal holidays, nine company-wide holidays, one volunteer day, sick leave and parental leave for all new parents for births or adoptions;

Competitive match on contributions to our 401(k) retirement savings plan, in which over 90% of our employees participate; and

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15% discount on purchasing Common Stock through our employee stock purchase plan, in which nearly 40% of our employees participate.

We do not believe that we have compensation policies or practices that create risks that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our Company. All employees are paid a base salary. Officers participate in our annual non-equity incentive program. Some non-officer employees are eligible to receive annual bonuses. Approximately 8% of our employees are eligible to receive equity incentive compensation. Other than as described below, we have no compensation policy or program that rewards employees solely on a transaction-specific basis. We have a development cash incentive plan pursuant to which certain employees (but not executive officers) can receive a cash payout from a development incentive pool. The amount of funds available to be earned under the plan depends upon the timing and cash yields of a qualifying development project and is included in the pro forma budget for the project. The program does not create an inappropriate risk because all development projects (inclusive of any such incentive compensation) must be approved in advance by our named executives and, in most cases, the full board or the investment committee of our board, none of whom are eligible to receive such incentives. We also pay our in-house leasing professionals commissions for signed leases. The payment of leasing commissions does not create an inappropriate risk because amounts payable are derived from net effective cash rents (which deducts leasing capital expenditures and operating expenses) and leases must be executed by an officer of our Company, none of whom is eligible to receive such commissions. Generally, lease transactions of a particular size or that contain terms or conditions that exceed certain guidelines also must be approved in advance by our senior leadership team. Additionally, we have an internal guideline whereby customers that account for more than 3% of our annualized revenues are periodically reviewed with the board. As of December 31, 2020, only the Federal Government (4.3%) and Bank of America (4.1%) accounted for more than 3% of our annualized cash revenues.

Employee Empowerment. While we own and operate a collection of high-quality office assets, we believe our team of dedicated real estate professionals is our greatest asset. Over the past five years, by simplifying and streamlining our operations, we have reduced our overall headcount by nearly 100. This right-sizing of our employee base has created, and will continue to create, opportunities for individual career growth. We encourage an “ownership” mentality throughout our Company and empower our employees to continuously seek new and better ways of doing business, particularly in light of the disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and Safety. Primarily because many of our employees are involved with the management and maintenance of our own portfolio, we have robust health and safety processes and training protocols designed to mitigate workplace incidents, risk and hazards. Among other things, we routinely conduct:

regulatory-required training of affected employees regarding OSHA compliance;

training on fire and life safety systems affecting our buildings and building systems;

training on emergency response procedures affecting our people, our buildings and our customers;

simulations and table-top exercises to ensure our crisis management and business continuity plans are effective; and

training on pandemic safety affecting our people, our buildings and our customers.

In addition, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, we prioritized the health and safety of our employees. By mid-March, we transitioned many of our employees in Raleigh and our division offices to working remotely and successfully executed our business continuity plan with no disruption to our financial, operational, communications and other systems.

Diversity and Inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer, with all qualified applicants receiving consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. As of December 31, 2020, 36% of our employees were female and 20% of our employees were persons of color. Currently, two of the nine members of our Board of Directors are female and two others are persons of color.

We have a robust diversity and inclusion initiative with the overall goal of creating opportunities for all people in the commercial real estate industry, in the local communities in which we operate and within our own workforce. First, we have established goals and methods to be sure we are providing opportunities to small and minority vendors to compete for work with our Company. Second, we have created a new employee-focused program, called the “Heart of Highwoods,” to provide opportunities for our employees to volunteer for community service in any ways important to them. To support these efforts, we
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recently added paid volunteer time off to encourage employees to volunteer in our communities. Third, as a result of listening sessions recently facilitated by an outside diversity and inclusion consultant, we have formed a diversity and inclusion group of employees to advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout our Company.

More information regarding our governance policies and human capital programs and initiatives, including our community projects, is available in the Company’s Proxy Statement filed in connection with its annual meeting of stockholders and under the “Meet Highwoods/Highwoods Helps” section of our website. Information on our website is not considered part of this Annual Report.

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.

Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing impact on the U.S. economy could materially and adversely impact or disrupt our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and another pandemic in the future could have, repercussions across regional and global economies and financial markets. The spread of COVID-19 in many countries, including the United States, has significantly adversely impacted global economic activity, including initially causing a worldwide economic recession, and has contributed to significant volatility in financial markets. The global impact of the pandemic has been rapidly evolving and many countries, including the United States, continue to react by instituting stay-at-home orders, restricting many business and travel activities, mandating the partial or complete closures of certain business and schools and taking other actions to mitigate the spread of the virus, most of which have a negative effect on economic activity, including the use of and demand for office space. Many private businesses, including some of our customers, have recommended certain of their employees to continue to work from home or are rotating employees in and out of the office to encourage social distancing in the workplace. Due to these events, during 2020, the usage of our assets was significantly lower and, as a result, parking and parking-related revenues were lower during this period.

We cannot predict when, if and to what extent these restrictions and other actions will end and when, if and to what extent economic activity, including the use of and demand for office space, will return to pre-COVID-19 levels. The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting almost every industry directly or indirectly, including industries in which we and our customers operate. A number of our customers have requested rent relief during this pandemic. We have also incurred and may in the future incur losses due to customers that default on their leases, file bankruptcy and/or otherwise experience significant financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, such losses totaled $4.5 million, consisting of lost rental revenues resulting from customers that filed bankruptcy or otherwise irrevocably defaulted on their leases and non-cash credit losses of straight-line rent receivables. Of the straight-line rent receivable credit losses incurred during 2020, $1.3 million were due to the conversion of fixed rent leases to percentage rent leases for certain customers that remain in occupancy but have been impacted by social distancing measures. In addition, many of our employees are currently working remotely. An extended period of work-from-home arrangements involving our employees could strain our business continuity plans, introduce operational risk, including but not limited to cybersecurity risks, and impair our ability to manage our business.

The COVID-19 pandemic, or a future pandemic, could also have material and adverse effects on our ability to successfully operate and on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows due to, among other factors:

a complete or partial closure of, or other operational issues at, one or more of our properties resulting from government or customer action;

the reduced economic activity could severely impact our customers’ businesses, financial condition and liquidity and may cause one or more of our customers to be unable to meet their obligations to us in full, or at all, or to otherwise seek modifications of such obligations;

the reduced economic activity could negatively impact our prospects for leasing additional space and/or renewing leases with existing customers;

severe disruption and instability in the global financial markets, negative impacts to our credit ratings and deteriorations in credit and financing conditions may affect our ability to access debt and equity capital on attractive
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terms, or at all, resulting in an inability to fund our business operations, including funding our development pipeline or addressing maturing liabilities on a timely basis, and such an environment may affect our customers’ ability to fund their business operations and meet their obligations to us;

the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively impact our future compliance with financial covenants of our revolving credit facility and other debt agreements and result in a default and potentially an acceleration of repayment of indebtedness, which in turn could negatively impact our ability to make additional borrowings under our revolving credit facility and pay dividends, among other things;

weaker economic conditions due to the pandemic could require us to recognize future impairment losses;

a deterioration in our or our customers’ ability to operate in affected areas or delays in the supply of products or services to us or our customers from vendors that are needed for our or our customers’ operations could adversely affect our operations and those of our customers;

potential changes in customer behavior, such as the continued social acceptance, desirability and perceived economic benefits of work-from-home arrangements, could materially and negatively impact the future demand for office space over the long-term even after the pandemic subsides; and

the potential negative impact on the health of our employees, particularly if a significant number of them are impacted, could result in a deterioration in our ability to ensure business continuity during this disruption.

The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our operations and those of our customers will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the scope, severity and duration of the pandemic and its resulting impact on economic activity, the actions taken to contain the pandemic or mitigate its impact, and the direct and indirect economic, social and behavioral effects of the pandemic and containment measures, among others. Financial difficulties experienced by our customers, including the potential for bankruptcies or other early terminations of their leases, could reduce our cash flows, which could impact our ability to continue paying dividends to our stockholders at expected levels or at all.

The rapid development and fluidity of this situation precludes any prediction as to the full adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic presents material uncertainty and risk with respect to our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance. Moreover, many of the other risk factors set forth in this Annual Report should be interpreted as heightened risks as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Risks Related to our Operations

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. Occupancy in our office portfolio decreased from 92.0% at December 31, 2019 to 90.3% at December 31, 2020. Average occupancy in 2021 will be lower, perhaps significantly lower, if the COVID-19 pandemic causes vacancies and move-outs due to (a) customers that default on their leases, file bankruptcy or otherwise experience significant financial difficulty and/or (b) potential changes in customer behavior, such as the continued social acceptance, desirability and perceived economic benefits of work-from-home arrangements, which could materially and negatively impact the future demand for office space over the long-term. Further, given the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economic activity, we have been experiencing slower speculative new leasing and we expect that trend will continue in 2021. 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.
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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 (including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), 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
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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.

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.

Natural disasters and climate change could have an adverse impact on our cash flow and operating results. Climate change may add to the unpredictability and frequency of natural disasters and severe weather conditions and create additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. Many of our buildings are located in areas that are subject to natural disasters and severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, snow storms, floods and fires. The impact of climate change or the occurrence of natural disasters can delay new development projects, increase investment costs to repair or replace damaged properties, increase operating costs, create additional investment costs to make improvements to existing properties to comply with climate change regulations, increase future property insurance costs and negatively impact the demand for office space.

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
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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 properties.

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 to 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;

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
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damage our reputation among our customers and investors generally.

Additionally, we face potential heightened cybersecurity risks during the COVID-19 pandemic as our level of dependence on our IT networks and related systems increases, stemming from employees working remotely, and the number of malware campaigns and phishing attacks preying on the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic increases. These heightened cybersecurity risks may increase our vulnerability to cyber attacks and cause disruptions to our internal control procedures.

Any or all of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Risks Related to our Capital Recycling Activity

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.

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
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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. From time to time, 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;

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

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

Risks Related to our Financing Activities

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 would 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
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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, 2020, we had $150.0 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 would adversely affect our 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. The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) that regulates LIBOR intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR at some point in the future. 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 at least 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.

Risks Related to our Status as a REIT

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
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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. Compliance with the REIT requirements may limit our growth prospects.

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.

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. While tax deficiency notices from the jurisdictions conducting previous audits have not been material, 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.

Risks Related to an Investment in our Securities

The price of our Common Stock is volatile and may decline. Our Common Stock, particularly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations, often without regard to our operating performance. For example, during the year ended December 31, 2020, the closing price for our Common Stock ranged from a high of $52.51 in February 2020 to a low of $28.12 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. 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;

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our financial condition and performance;

the market’s perception of our growth prospects 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

any negative change in the level or stability of our dividend.

Tax elections regarding distributions may impact the future liquidity of the Company or our stockholders. Under certain circumstances, we may consider making a tax election to treat future distributions to stockholders as distributions in the current year. This election, which is provided for in the Internal Revenue Code, may allow us to avoid increasing our dividends or paying additional income taxes in the current year. However, this could result in a constraint on our ability to decrease our dividends in future years without creating risk of either violating the REIT distribution requirements or generating additional income tax liability.

Tax legislative or regulatory action could adversely affect us or our stockholders. In recent years, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made to the U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to investments similar to an investment in our Common Stock. Additional changes to tax laws are likely to continue in the future, and we cannot assure you that any such changes will not adversely affect the taxation of us or our stockholders. Any such changes could have an adverse effect on an investment in our Common Stock, on the market value of our properties or the attractiveness of securities of REITs generally in comparison to other asset classes.

We cannot assure you that we will continue to pay dividends at historical rates. We generally expect to use cash flows from operating activities to fund dividends. For information regarding our dividend payment history as well as a discussion of the factors that influence the decisions of the Company’s Board of Directors regarding dividends and distributions, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources - Dividends and Distributions.” Changes in our future dividend payout level could have a material effect on the market price of our Common Stock.

Cash distributions reduce the amount of cash that would otherwise be available for other business purposes, including funding debt maturities, reducing debt or future growth initiatives. For the Company to maintain its qualification as a REIT, it must annually distribute to its stockholders at least 90% of REIT taxable income, excluding net capital gains. In addition, although capital gains are not required to be distributed to maintain REIT status, taxable capital gains, if any, that are generated as part of our capital recycling program are subject to federal and state income tax unless such gains are distributed to our stockholders. Cash distributions made to stockholders to maintain REIT status or to distribute otherwise taxable capital gains limit our ability to accumulate capital for other business purposes, including funding debt maturities, reducing debt or growth initiatives.

Further issuances of equity securities may adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock and may be dilutive to current stockholders. The sales of a substantial number of Common Shares, or the perception that such sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock. We have filed a registration statement with the SEC allowing us to offer, from time to time, an indeterminate amount of equity securities (including Common Stock and Preferred Stock) on an as-needed basis and subject to our ability to effect offerings on satisfactory terms based on prevailing conditions. In addition, the Company’s board of directors has, from time to time, authorized the Company to issue shares of Common Stock pursuant to the Company’s equity sales agreements. The interests of our existing stockholders could be diluted if additional equity securities are issued to finance future developments and acquisitions or repay indebtedness.  Our ability to execute our business strategy depends on our access to an appropriate blend of debt financing, including unsecured lines of credit and other forms of secured and unsecured debt, and equity financing, including common equity.

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We may change our policies without obtaining the approval of our stockholders. Our operating and financial policies, including our policies with respect to acquisitions of real estate, growth, operations, indebtedness, capitalization and dividends, are exclusively determined by the Company’s Board of Directors. Accordingly, our stockholders do not control these policies.

Limits on changes in control may discourage takeover attempts beneficial to stockholders. Provisions in the Company’s charter and bylaws as well as Maryland general corporation law may have anti-takeover effects that delay, defer or prevent a takeover attempt. For example, these provisions may defer or prevent tender offers for our Common Stock or purchases of large blocks of our Common Stock, thus limiting the opportunities for the Company’s stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of Common Stock over then-prevailing market prices. These provisions include the following:

Ownership limit. The Company’s charter prohibits direct, indirect or constructive ownership by any person or entity of more than 9.8% of the Company’s outstanding capital stock. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of capital stock in excess of the ownership limit without the consent of the Company’s board of directors will be void.

Preferred Stock. The Company’s charter authorizes the board of directors to issue preferred stock in one or more classes and establish the preferences and rights of any class of preferred stock issued. These actions can be taken without stockholder approval. The issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying or preventing someone from taking control of the Company, even if a change in control were in our best interest.

Business combinations. Pursuant to the Company’s charter and Maryland law, the Company cannot merge into or consolidate with another corporation or enter into a statutory share exchange transaction in which the Company is not the surviving entity or sell all or substantially all of its assets unless the board of directors adopts a resolution declaring the proposed transaction advisable and a majority of the stockholders voting together as a single class approve the transaction. Maryland law prohibits stockholders from taking action by written consent unless all stockholders consent in writing. The practical effect of this limitation is that any action required or permitted to be taken by the Company’s stockholders may only be taken if it is properly brought before an annual or special meeting of stockholders. The Company’s bylaws further provide that in order for a stockholder to properly bring any matter before a meeting, the stockholder must comply with requirements regarding advance notice. The foregoing provisions could have the effect of delaying until the next annual meeting stockholder actions that the holders of a majority of the Company’s outstanding voting securities favor. These provisions may also discourage another person from making a tender offer for the Company’s common stock, because such person or entity, even if it acquired a majority of the Company’s outstanding voting securities, would likely be able to take action as a stockholder, such as electing new directors or approving a merger, only at a duly called stockholders meeting. Maryland law also establishes special requirements with respect to business combinations between Maryland corporations and interested stockholders unless exemptions apply. Among other things, the law prohibits for five years a merger and other similar transactions between a corporation and an interested stockholder and requires a supermajority vote for such transactions after the end of the five-year period. The Company’s charter contains a provision exempting the Company from the Maryland business combination statute. However, we cannot assure you that this charter provision will not be amended or repealed at any point in the future.

Control share acquisitions. Maryland general corporation law also provides that control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, excluding shares owned by the acquirer or by officers or employee directors. The control share acquisition statute does not apply to shares acquired in a merger, consolidation or share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction, or to acquisitions approved or exempted by the corporation’s charter or bylaws. The Company’s bylaws contain a provision exempting from the control share acquisition statute any stock acquired by any person. However, we cannot assure you that this bylaw provision will not be amended or repealed at any point in the future.

Maryland unsolicited takeover statute. Under Maryland law, the Company’s board of directors could adopt various anti-takeover provisions without the consent of stockholders. The adoption of such measures could discourage offers for the Company or make an acquisition of the Company more difficult, even when an acquisition would be in the best interest of the Company’s stockholders.

Anti‑takeover protections of operating partnership agreement. Upon a change in control of the Company, the partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership requires certain acquirers to maintain an umbrella partnership real estate investment trust structure with terms at least as favorable to the limited partners as are currently in place. For instance, the acquirer would be required to preserve the limited partner’s right to continue to hold tax-deferred partnership interests that are redeemable for capital stock of the acquirer. Exceptions would require the approval of
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two-thirds of the limited partners of our Operating Partnership (other than the Company). These provisions may make a change of control transaction involving the Company more complicated and therefore might decrease the likelihood of such a transaction occurring, even if such a transaction would be in the best interest of the Company’s stockholders.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.
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ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Properties

The following table sets forth information about in-service office properties that we wholly own by geographic location at December 31, 2020:

MarketRentable
Square Feet
OccupancyPercentage of Annualized Cash Rental Revenue (1)
Atlanta5,416,000 88.8 %21.3 %
Nashville4,567,000 92.8 19.8 
Raleigh4,834,000 91.2 18.4 
Tampa3,618,000 89.7 13.4 
Pittsburgh2,151,000 92.9 8.3 
Orlando1,791,000 87.8 6.8 
Richmond2,037,000 88.7 6.2 
Charlotte841,000 89.6 4.0 
Other654,000 87.5 1.8 
Total25,909,000 90.3 %100.0 %
__________
(1)Annualized Cash Rental Revenue is cash rental revenue (base rent plus cost recovery income, excluding straight-line rent) from our office properties for the month of December 2020 multiplied by 12.

The following table sets forth the net changes in rentable square footage of in-service properties that we wholly own:

Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
(in thousands)
Acquisitions— 841 — 
Developments Placed In-Service— 898 351 
Redevelopment/Other(40)(6)(2)
Dispositions(4,489)(557)(491)
Net Change in Rentable Square Footage(4,529)1,176 (142)

The following table sets forth operating information about in-service properties that we wholly own:

Average
Occupancy
Annualized GAAP Rent
Per Square
Foot (1)
Annualized Cash Rent
Per Square
Foot (2)
201692.8 %$23.24 $22.55 
201792.5 %$24.05 $23.46 
201891.7 %$24.68 $24.06 
201991.4 %$26.46 $25.06 
202090.7 %$29.23 $28.21 
__________
(1)Annualized GAAP Rent Per Square Foot is rental revenue (base rent plus cost recovery income, including straight-line rent) for the month of December of the respective year multiplied by 12, divided by total occupied rentable square footage.
(2)Annualized Cash Rent Per Square Foot is cash rental revenue (base rent plus cost recovery income, excluding straight-line rent) for the month of December of the respective year multiplied by 12, divided by total occupied rentable square footage.

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Customers

The following table sets forth information concerning the 20 largest customers of properties that we wholly own at December 31, 2020:
CustomerRentable Square
Feet
Annualized
Cash Rental
Revenue (1)
Percent of
Total
Annualized
Cash Rental
Revenue (1)
Weighted
Average
Remaining
Lease Term in
Years
(in thousands)
Federal Government1,178,487 $28,133 4.26 %6.2 
Bank of America652,313 26,727 4.05 13.2 
Bridgestone Americas506,128 18,195 2.76 16.7 
Metropolitan Life Insurance624,540 16,926 2.56 10.2 
Mars Petcare223,700 9,850 1.49 10.4 
PPG Industries361,215 9,837 1.49 10.3 
Vanderbilt University294,389 8,817 1.34 5.4 
EQT Corporation317,052 8,265 1.25 3.8 
Tivity263,598 7,717 1.17 2.2 
Bass, Berry & Sims213,951 7,170 1.09 4.1 
American General Life173,834 6,335 0.96 6.1 
Novelis168,949 6,267 0.95 3.7 
State of Georgia288,443 5,764 0.87 3.6 
Lifepoint Corporate Services202,991 5,545 0.84 8.3 
PNC Bank159,142 5,121 0.78 7.1 
Delta Community Credit Union128,589 4,885 0.74 11.8 
Avanos Medical193,199 4,713 0.71 8.2 
Marsh USA136,246 4,667 0.71 6.6 
Willis Towers Watson162,849 4,564 0.69 3.3 
Global Payments168,051 4,537 0.69 12.2 
Total6,417,666 $194,035 29.40 %8.7 
__________
(1)Annualized Cash Rental Revenue is cash rental revenue (base rent plus cost recovery income, excluding straight-line rent) for the month of December 2020 multiplied by 12.

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Lease Expirations

The following tables set forth scheduled lease expirations for existing leases at office properties that we wholly owned at December 31, 2020:
Lease Expiring (1)
Number of Leases ExpiringRentable
Square Feet
Subject to
Expiring
Leases
Percentage of
Leased Square
Footage
Represented
by Expiring
Leases
Annualized
Cash Rental
Revenue
Under Expiring
Leases (2)
Average
Annual Cash
Rental Rate
Per Square
Foot for
Expirations
Percent of
Annualized
Cash Rental
Revenue
Represented
by Expiring
Leases (2)
(in thousands)
2021 (3)
362 1,913,644 8.2 %$52,999 $27.70 8.0 %
2022366 1,923,263 8.2 55,031 28.61 8.3 
2023291 2,341,142 10.0 64,912 27.73 9.8 
2024259 2,477,527 10.6 73,936 29.84 11.2 
2025228 2,880,807 12.3 82,530 28.65 12.5 
2026148 1,863,015 8.0 50,806 27.27 7.7 
202785 1,726,509 7.4 50,443 29.22 7.6 
202865 1,503,344 6.4 37,441 24.91 5.7 
202968 1,202,446 5.1 33,001 27.44 5.0 
2030101 1,379,684 5.9 35,278 25.57 5.3 
Thereafter101 4,192,266 17.9 123,931 29.56 18.9 
2,074 23,403,647 100.0 %$660,308 $28.21 100.0 %
__________
(1)Expirations that have been renewed are reflected above based on the renewal expiration date. Expirations include leases related to completed not stabilized development properties but exclude leases related to developments in-process.
(2)Annualized Cash Rental Revenue is cash rental revenue (base rent plus cost recovery income, excluding straight-line rent) for the month of December 2020 multiplied by 12.
(3)Includes 52,000 rentable square feet of leases that are on a month-to-month basis, which represent 0.2% of total annualized cash rental revenue.

In-Process Development

As of December 31, 2020, we were developing 0.8 million rentable square feet of office properties. The following table summarizes these announced and in-process office developments:

PropertyMarketRentable Square Feet
Anticipated Total Investment