Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. (ARE) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE)Q4 2017 Earnings Conference CallJan. 30, 2018, 3:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

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  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Hello. And welcome to the Alexandria Real Estate Equities Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2017 conference call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. Should you need assistance, please signal a conference specialist by pressing the * key followed by 0. After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. To ask a question, press the * then 1 on your touchtone phone; press * then 2 to remove yourself from the list. And also, please note that this event is being recorded.

I now would like to turn the conference over to Paula Schwartz of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Paula Schwartz -- Investor Relations

Thank you, and good afternoon everyone. This conference call contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. The Company's actual results might differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

I now would like to turn the call over to Joel Marcus. Please go ahead, Joel.

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Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Paula, and welcome, everybody, to our fourth quarter and year-end 2017 call. With me today are Dean Shigenaga, Steve Richardson, Peter Moglia, Tom Andrews, and Dan Ryan.

So, I started off last call with a Harvard Business Review quote, and I'm going to do the same from the January/February 2018 issue about culture. Strategy offers the formal logic for a company's goals and orients people around them, but culture expresses the goals through shared values, beliefs, and guides activity through shared assumptions and group norms. Culture fosters an organization's capacity to thrive. So, to the women and men of the Alexandria family whose idea of meritocracy and mutual respect culture, coupled with our solemn mission to build the future of life-changing innovation, thank you for an operationally excellent fourth quarter and year-end 2017. And thank you for the significant funds raised, funds contributed, and countless hours of service to our philanthropic focus: the communities in which we live and do business, groundbreaking biomedical research, and military families.

And also thank you for the treasure trove of sustainability awards highlighted on page 42 of our supplemental, which are nothing but really kind of astounding: Nareit's "Most Innovative" Award, California's highest environmental honor, WELL's first WELL-certified laboratory, GRESB's number one health and well-being company in the US, and the first REIT to be named Fitwel champion. So, I congratulate the entire team on those amazing awards and accomplishments.

Alexandria, and Dean will talk more about the details, is positioned well for continued growth. We're projecting 9% growth for 2018, and we clearly have a very clear path, detailed on Investor Day, to potentially double the revenues of the company over the next five years. The macro fundamentals stay strong: strong demand from highly innovative entities, limited supply, favorable rental-rate trends, high occupancy levels, and continued asset valuation strength. The five fundamental pillars positively impacting life science demand continue to remain positive. Strong life science venture capital investment, robust NIH funding, favorable FDA regulatory environment, strong medical research philanthropy support, and all-time high levels of commercial R&D funding.

For the first time, our revenues exceeded $1 billion for 2017, and our total market cap touched, at the end of the year, about $18 billion. So, starting with a $19 million Series A round 24 years ago, that's a wonderful accomplishment. Our total shareholder return exceeded 20% in 2017, and our total return from IPO through the end of the year was almost 1350%. So, we're very proud of those accomplishments. Our total asset base in North America approximates 30 million square feet, and our high occupancy continues at about 96.8%. Dean will talk more about strong and stable cash flows, and the demand for our space in our key markets. We've continued to maintain high operating margins, which are very important; and strong retention rates over the last five years exceeding 80%.

Let me switch now to really focus on the continuing and consistent strong demand in our key life science cluster markets, and highlight a little bit about leasing this year. It was our second-highest yearly leasing volume ever, 4.6 million square feet; 39% in San Francisco, 26% in greater Boston, and 18% in San Diego. And broken down, about 55% were release and renewals, about 20% previously vacant space, 20% development delivered space, and 5% redevelopment delivered space. We had 12.7% growth in cash rental rates, and we expect to exceed that in the coming year.

Moving to the life science industry itself for a moment, Bill Gates, at his keynote at the JPMorgan conference, talked about research in biotech and pharma, and concluded by saying that the industry is the most important factor for the skills, experience, and capacity they have necessary to turn discoveries into commercially viable products. And that remains our critical mission.

The biotech index was up about 20% plus in 2017, so another strong year. Venture capital really set some all-time highs; $20 billion in annual funding, exceeding $15 billion in 2016, which was a nice uptick. The IPO market remained open; 37 deals for about $3.5 billion, and we continue to see that this year will be another strong year for high-quality companies. And already in 2018, we've seen two large merger and acquisition deals announced: Celgene's acquisition of Juno, a tenant of ours in Seattle; and Sanofi's acquisition of Bioverativ, which was a spin-out out of Biogen, another tenant of ours in the greater Boston area. The FDA really had a banner year; there were 46 new entities approved. And if you added those to additional approvals, they marked a modern-day record for the FDA. And of the 46 drugs approved, 43% were ARE tenants.

In 2017, the FDA approved a record number of drugs with orphan indications, and eliminated the entire backlog of pending orphan drug designation requests. The FDA continues to be a world-leading gatekeeping agency. In 2017, 36 of the 46 new molecular entities were in the US before any other country, and 15, or 33%, were first-in-class drugs. Very important.

Tax reform is, I think, going to be a significant boon to the industry. Certainly, the reduced corporate tax rates for many of the biopharmaceutical companies will be very positive, and the repatriation of earnings will also be very, very significant.

So, moving on to additional comments, I'm going to ask Dean to highlight a number of key accomplishments, and to give a bit of a roadmap for 2018, and then I will come back and do a little bit of a follow-on before we go to Q&A. Dean.

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Joel. Dean Shigenaga here, and good afternoon, everyone. The combination of solid execution of our unique business strategy and operational excellence allowed our highly experienced team to deliver on our expectations for a truly outstanding year of operating and financial performance in 2017. We reported FFO per share of $6.02, up 9.3%; really hit our expectations for strong growth for both the fourth quarter and the year. Consensus NAV at the end of 2017 was up over 13%, capturing the significant high-quality growth and cash flows. And common stock dividends for $3.45, up 7%.

Internal growth was very strong in 2017, and above our 10-year average cash same-property NOI growth of 5%. And I'll touch on this in the next few topics in more detail in a moment. External growth, primarily through ground-up development, was well-executed by our team. They delivered a number of great, collaborative, innovative spaces on time, under budget, and at great returns on our total investment. Our strong multi-year growth engine, when combined with a very strong balance sheet, continues to drive strategic per share growth. And I will also provide very important and brief comments on our strong outlook for 2018.

Touching on key comments, and our high-quality stable and increasing cash flows -- as Joel mentioned, our total revenues exceeded $1.1 billion this year, up 22% over 2016; 55% of our annual rental revenue today is generated from tenants that are either investment-grade or have a market capitalization greater than $10 billion. This represents an industry-leading statistic, and huge thanks to our science and technology team for their expertise underwriting key industry trends and leading life science and technology entities. Our technology-related tenants for the year, as of year-end, represented 11% of our annual rental revenue; 74% of which is generated from either investment grade or large cap entities. Cash NOI was up $90 million in 2017, or 15%, driven, really roughly, by equal contributions from three key areas of our business: strong cash same-property net operating income grown of 6.8%; also a significant contribution from our pipeline of development and redevelopment projects, which included 1.3 million rentable square feet of new Class A buildings in 2017; and contributions from recent acquisitions, primarily 1 Kendall Square that we acquired in late 2016. All but one acquisition in 2017 was primarily focused on development and redevelopment value-added opportunities.

EBITDA margins were very strong at 68%. As Joel mentioned, we hit our second-highest year of leasing volume at 4.5 million rentable square feet. Rental rate growth was up 12.7% on lease renewals and releasing of space. We continued to deliver solid growth in net effective rents, really highlighting the strength of our real estate and life science industry fundamentals. Importantly, rental rates continue to support our disciplined approach that's strategic and selected ground-up development; you really run projects one project at a time.

For NAV models, on page one of our press release, we continue to highlight significant contractual near-term growth in annual cash rents of $96 million, of which $78 million will commence through the fourth quarter of 2018. It's really important to recognize $26 million of this will commence in the first quarter; $31 million will commence in the second quarter. That's $57 million, just in the first half of 2018. This $96 million in contractual rent growth is related to the development and redevelopment projects that were recently placed into service and are currently generating GAAP revenue.

Let me briefly comment on an impairment recognized in the fourth quarter. As required under GAAP, we recognize an impairment of $3.8 million as the result of an unrealized loss position for 12 months related to an investment in a biotech company. It's important to also recognize that we remain optimistic that our investment will be fine over time; however, we were required to write down the book value of this investment.

Moving on to our disciplined management of our development pipeline, we are in a unique position today, with our very well-located land parcels in key centers of innovation that provides us with the option to meet the demand from highly innovative entities. We will carefully review each incremental opportunity before deciding to proceed.

Over the past ten years, we have proven our disciplined approach and ability to generate strong returns from our development pipeline. Let me just highlight a few of the great statistics over the last decade: 5.5 million rentable square feet of new Class A properties, with significant pre-leasing prior to the commencement of vertical construction, with one exception this quarter, that will be meaningfully released shortly after the commencement of construction.

Investment-grade or large cap tenants support 81% of the annual rental revenue generated from ground-up development projects over the last decade. Our highly experienced team has, on average, beat our target delivery dates, completed projects under budget, and exceeded our original return expectations. In 2017, we completed six development projects on times, aggregating 1.3 million rentable square feet at initial cash yields of 7.1%, including 645,000 rentable square feet that were completed in mid-4Q17. These highly innovative and collaborative spaces were built for some of the leading life science and technology entities, including Bristol-Myers, Facebook, Stripe, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Pinterest, Illumina, Juno Theraupeutics, which Celgene is acquiring, and several very high-quality venture-backed biotech entities.

We are proud to be an important partner to some of the world's most innovative entities, and through our unique business, helping to improve the quality of life through the discovery of new therapies and technologies. Today we have 2.3 million rentable square feet under construction, including one project undergoing pre-construction, that are on average, highly leased at 80%, and expected to generate very strong initial cash yields averaging 6.9% on our total investment. Our balance sheet today is in excellent position to strengthen flexibility. We exceeded our balance sheet leverage goals this year with net debt to adjusted EBITDA of 5.5 times, with a very strong commitment for continued improvement year to year. Our fixed-charge coverage ratio is greater than 4 times. We had $2 billion of liquidity at the end of the year, and we continued our disciplined execution of long-term capital to fund strategic growth.

We executed an opportunistic second unsecured bond offering in November of 2017, and strategically repaid two construction loans, and reduced unhedged variable rate debt to 1%. Pricing of long-term 10-year fixed-rate bonds for Alexandria remains very attractive, at approximately 4% today. To put this into perspective, a 4% 10-year bond deal is about 35 basis points lower than the 10-year bond deal we issued a little over two years ago in November of 2015. This reflects the significant improvement in spread over the 10-year Treasury for Alexandria, driven by the tremendous improvement in our credit profile over the last two years. Importantly, we are investing capital into new Class A properties at very strong initial cash yields of about 7%.

We have completed a significant component of our capital needs for 2018 with the execution, in early January, of the issuance of common stock under forward-sale equity agreements that will provide net proceeds of $817 million. Our goal with this offering was to continue our prudent approach toward management of our balance sheet, while our team executes on a very well-defined set of growth opportunities for 2018 and beyond. We expect to settle these forward sale agreements as we match our funding needs through the year.

As of the end of 2017, our balance sheet is the strongest it ever has been and will continue to improve year to year. A few additional key highlights include: we have no balloon debt maturities in 2018; we have two loans maturing in 2019, and expect to repay the outstanding $200 million 2019 unsecured term loan later in 2018; and we also look for an opportunity to repay a portion of our $325 million construction loan with an initial maturity in 2019. It is important to note that we have extension options to extend the maturity to 2021.

Lastly, I just want to make a few key highlights on our strong outlook for 2018. As usual, our detailed underlying guidance assumptions for 2018 are included on page seven of our earnings release and supplemental package. We are off to a great start this year, and our team continues to focus on execution of another strong year, with projected FFO per share growth of 8.8%. We are uniquely positioned in the real industry, with continued high-quality growth and cash flows from a high quality tenant roster, and strong growth from our unique internal and external growth platform.

In my closing comments before I turn it back to Joel, we are pleased with our strong results for 2017, and strong outlook for 2018. And our team continues to execute on a pipeline of new Class A properties. We have solid fundamentals and a strong balance sheet to support strategic goals, and are led by an excellent team and senior leaders with key industry relationships that provide us access to some of the most important real estate and leasing transactions in the country.

Joel?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Let me make a few more comments, then I'll turn it over to the operator to go to Q&A.

So, on November 29 at Investor Day, I told analysts we would be announcing new officer roles during the first quarter of 2018. I am sometimes told that ARE has a deep bench. In reality, we have no bench. Every single member of our executive team, all nine of us, are first team 24/7 players. And since we're in the Super Bowl week, an analogy might be fitting. The New England Patriots are the best franchise in football over the last decade, and even longer; the system is the best and has melded talented individuals into a real powerhouse team, where the franchise, the team, and the individuals are all about the greatness of the organization. With respect to Alexandria, and as Jim Collins, renowned author and business strategist was quoted on the cover on our annual report, Alexandria has achieved the three outputs that define a great company: superior results, distinctive impact, lasting endurance.

Our executive management team will stay on the field of play, and all of us will remain starters 24/7. We'll change positions in the second quarter, but all the players will remain starters and will continue to execute our five-year strategic growth plan with operational excellence in our system that is an ideal meritocracy, and a cornerstone is respect for each and every member of our 300-person-strong first team. We'll continue to build the future of life-changing innovation through our four pillars.

And let me end, before I go to Q&A, with a quote I actually sent to our team about a year ago: if you develop a pure and sincere motivation, and if you're motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively -- written by the Dalai Lama himself.

...

So, with that, we'll go to Q&A.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Yes, thank you. We will now begin the question and answer session. To ask a question, you may press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. If you are on a speakerphone, please pick up your handset before pressing the keys. To withdraw your question, please press * then 2. At this time, we will pause momentarily to assemble the roster.

And the first question comes from Jamie Feldman with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Jamie Feldman -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great, thank you. And good afternoon.

So, Joel, I guess I just want to go back to you, and the comment you just made. So, you said switching positions in the second quarter. Just thoughts on timing, and what the Street should be expecting here?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Announcement in the first quarter, and position shifting in the second quarter.

Jamie Feldman -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you, that's helpful. Can you speak more broadly about -- we've seen some M&A news in the space; specifically, Juno and Celgene I know Dean mentioned it on the call. Can you just talk through the implication for the leases you have in your portfolio with any of the deals that have been announced lately? And then, I guess also bigger picture, if you go back through M&A cycles in life science, what have been the implications for demand and maybe vacancy and maybe subleasing your portfolio?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So, first things first. On Juno, as you know, we built their corporate headquarters. They'll be acquired by Celgene. Celgene actually already has an important presence in Seattle. This is really a pretty critical bolt-on to the business of Celgene. They already had a big investment in Juno, so they weren't strangers at all. I think Celgene had invested over $1 billion in the company previously. And so, this really opens up Celgene, which it has a magnificent cancer franchise, to the area of immuno-oncology, which is, in a sense, one of the pieces of the future of human healthcare. So, they will continue to maintain the Juno presence, probably strengthen it. And I think you'll see that franchise continue to grow pretty rapidly.

On the other side of the fence, I'll have Tom speak to -- we had a company that spun out of Biogen, Bioverativ, which is a tenant of ours being acquired here over the, announcement over the last couple of weeks. And so, Tom, maybe speak to that.

Thomas Andrews -- Executive Vice President, Regional Market Director (Greater Boston)

Sure, so Bioverativ spun out of Biogen, I think about two or three years ago. We put them in about 120,000 square feet of space in Waltham, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. And we anticipate, based on what we know about the acquisition, that Bioverativ will remain in place there as a Sanofi unit in that location. It happens there's a couple of Sanofi buildings immediately adjacent to the building that we own that Bioverativ is in.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So, we don't see any negative implications. Historically, M&A has really had, really two flavors, if you go back over the last decade or so. Where you see a strategic acquisition of a real franchise, and a talent pool, the acquiring company tends to use that as a base. And most of those times, those companies remain in the hubs of where they are located, because a bigger company access to talent hiring and retentions. There are occasions where companies are bought really for a product opportunity, or a unique one-off technology, and sometimes those are folded in. But I think historically, we haven't had any significant negative implications on rentals from M&A.

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

Hey, it's Peter Moglia. I just want to -- an anecdote would be Eli Lilly and Company. They entered San Diego, I can't remember the name of the company they bought, but at the time they went into one of our buildings. And they were in about 20,000 square feet. And they eventually grew to where they are today in San Diego at 300,000 plus square feet. So, those are stories that we've seen before. We've also seen ImClone come into, or be purchased by Eli Lilly in New York and more than double their anticipated size once they stabilized their occupancy at Alexandria Center for Life Science. There's a few other examples, but I'd probably have to take those offline.

Jamie Feldman -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Emmanuel Korchman with Citi.

Emmanuel Korchman -- Citibank -- Analyst

Thank you, guys. Good afternoon. Dean, if we go back to the $3.8 million charge, you mentioned in your comments that you had confidence that over time, everything would work out fine. I'm just wondering what gives you that confidence. Can you give us some more details to the security that was linked to?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, so we won't disclose what security it is, but it is a publicly traded company. And as Dean said, the rule is writing down, taking an impairment when you've got a duration of decline in value of about 12 months or so. We know the company very intimately. We know the founders. We know the pipeline. And I think we have, I would say, a super high level of confidence that the writedown will be recovered and probably more than that. That's all I really want to say at this point.

Emmanuel Korchman -- Citibank -- Analyst

And Joel, maybe in a similar vein, if you could give us some more details on the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, and how much capital you're actually going to put up into that venture?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, we announced that we have essentially collaborated with one other large venture operation, together with several strategic pharma partners. And we'll look to make strategic seed-stage investments. There is no limit. It really is a balance sheet limit. Each of the other companies are probably five or ten-plus times our size. So, there is no limit; we'll do what we think is useful and appropriate and strategic, case by case.

Emmanuel Korchman -- Citibank -- Analyst

Thanks, Joel.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

You're welcome.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Nick Yulico with UBS.

Nick Yulico -- UBS -- Analyst

Thanks. I just had a question on your same-store NOI guidance, specifically the difference between cash and GAAP. Last year, you have cash NOI growth, same-store NOI growth was nearly 7% and GAAP was 3%, about a 400-basis point differential. This year, cash is 10% at the midpoint and GAAP is 3.5%, so that's over a 600-basis point differential. So, I'm just wondering what's driving that widening spread between cash and GAAP, and whether it's solely the benefit from developments delivered in 2016 now entering the same-store pool, where the free rent is burning off?

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Nick, it's Dean Shigenaga here. I'd say that we probably commented historically that GAAP typically has averaged about 2%, and cash has averaged about 5% over the last decade. So, you've always had a differential in the performance, and I think our same-property results are unique in the sense that occupancy never really has a meaningful impact. Specifically, to 2018, when we have guided to a midpoint of 10%, cash same-property NOI growth, you do have the benefit, as we've talked on in previous calls, of the burn-off of some rent concessions from the recently delivered developments. It's important also to remember, though, if we back those out, you still end up at a very strong cash same-property NOI run rate of roughly 5%.

I think, going forward, Alexandria along with a number of other REITs will continue to look at how to improve the same property disclosures to facilitate a better understanding. But you still have really strong core growth after you back out the free rent concessions.

Nick Yulico -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. And then, Joel, just going back to your comments on the tax plan benefiting the sector and your tenants -- can you just elaborate a little bit on that, how you think this may play out?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well obviously, reduced -- I mean, if you take this past week, AbbVie had a big pop. And it was indicated that their internal plan provided for a 20% tax rate, and it turned out that after tax reform, it looked like it was going to be closer to 9%. So, the stock took a big jump; that's a simple, immediate impact. Another one is the industry probably has somewhere between $100 billion and $200 billion of cash overseas, and as that is repatriated -- and interestingly enough, Celgene only had about $9 billion overseas; Amgen and Gilead have the most -- you could imagine more M&A or big strategic relationships that would fuel additional investment into R&D.

Nick Yulico -- UBS -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Sheila McGrath with Evercore.

Sheila McGrath -- Evercore -- Analyst

Yes, good afternoon. Joel, it looks like you made leasing progress at 399 Binney and 681 Gateway. I just wondered if you could give us an update on the leases, types of tenants, and how the rental rates were versus your expectations.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I'll ask Tom to do 399 Binney.

Thomas Andrews -- Executive Vice President, Regional Market Director (Greater Boston)

Yes, so we signed three leases with tenants at 399 Binney. They are all well-capitalized, venture-financed companies with strong pedigree and management teams. I believe they were all a minimum of eight-year to 10-year leases, and the rents were right in line with our expectations for the property. The remainder of the space that we have to lease is a little bit more challenging in terms of when to align, but we have some interesting activity, and we'll see if we can get that leased up -- the building is just coming out of the ground fast now, and we'll be ready to deliver on those three leases late this year.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And current rental rates in Cambridge --

Thomas Andrews -- Executive Vice President, Regional Market Director (Greater Boston)

Yes, so very high $70s to low $80s per square foot in a good location; in good buildings, low $80s per square foot.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Let me ask Steve to speak to 681 Gateway.

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Sheila, hi, it's Steve.

Sheila McGrath -- Evercore -- Analyst

Hi, Steve.

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Hi. We're really pleased there. That lease actually doesn't roll until the latter part of this year, September of 2018. And because we've been 100% leased for almost two or three years now, we have pent-up demand in the existing portfolio. So, without really any marketing campaign, we do have competition for this space. We're advancing the lease document with 110, and we're essentially oversubscribed for the balance of the space there. So, a very healthy dynamic continues; more broadly, tracking 2.5 million square feet of demand, slightly up -- this time last year, it was 2.4 million square feet. And so, just very pleased with the progress at 681 Gateway.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Rental rates in the market?

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Rental rates in the market are $60 net, and room to continue to climb there as well.

Sheila McGrath -- Evercore -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then Joel, I think in the prepared remarks, you mentioned a doubling the revenues in the next five years. I just wanted to reconfirm that that's what you said, and that also -- is that from just the existing pipeline in the supplemental, or do you have some projects that are in the works that we don't necessarily know about yet?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, so on Investor Day, Sheila, I think we took a kind of a trip through each of the regions, and gave a vision of if we were able to build out what we owned, which really are pretty prime-location parcels that we could, in fact, come close to doubling the revenues of the company. And that's the broad game plan of the company. It's not a guidance number at the moment, but it is a path to get there. And we feel pretty comfortable with that. And I think we mentioned that San Francisco had the biggest growth trajectory based on what we own. So, that is just what we own on balance sheet today, and nothing else.

Sheila McGrath -- Evercore -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Jed Reagan with Green Street Advisors.

Jed Reagan -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Good afternoon, guys. Maybe a question for Dean. Can you just give a little bit more color on potential timing for when you guys expect to draw down the new forward-equity rate? Should we think of that as more of a back half of the year type of event? And then how will you balance that against further issuance off the ATM?

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Jed, it's Dean here. I think in 2018 -- maybe one way of thinking of it is, as you look back to 2017, I think you would have found that we pretty much brought in our equity almost evenly through the year, except the fourth quarter had a tad bit more. And that was primarily driven by uses through the year. We had a higher construction amount in the fourth quarter of 2017. We also had a handful of acquisitions that settled down in that period of time. So, I think when you take all that into consideration, roughly speaking, the equity in 2017 was kind of taken down evenly. And that included occasional uses for the ATM program through the year, to round out our overall capital needs.

I would add, in 2018, consistent with what we did in 2017, you will see us search for opportunity to continue to dispose of what I would call some non-core assets. And as we make our way through the first couple quarters of the year, we hope to give you some additional color around dispositions.

Jed Reagan -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. I guess separately, job growth has been growing in San Francisco, recently, in a number of industries. Are you feeling that on the ground for your tenant base in that market? And maybe specifically for life sciences, are you seeing any signs of job growth or demand growth slowing?

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Yes, hi. It's Steve Richardson. No, we're not experiencing that at all. Conversely, just in the last 60 days, we've had three Bay Area IPOs raising over $500 million: Denali, Menlo Therapeutics, and ARMO. So, we're seeing firsthand continued driving market; I think it was a very upbeat JPMorgan conference that was held in San Francisco at the beginning of January. And again, we're 100% leased, and working to solve a high-class problem: to continue to provide Class A facilities for our client tenants.

Jed Reagan -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

That's helpful, I guess. Just maybe this last one, if I may. Joel, you mentioned some of the thoughts related to tax reform. One thing you didn't touch on, with respect to the state and local tax deductions, that all will represent less of a tax cut for folks in high-tax states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and maybe a benefit for low-tax states like Washington. Are you concerned that takes the wind out of the sails of any of the cluster markets like the Bay Area or Cambridge? Does it make you any more constructive on say, Seattle, or potentially even an Austin, Texas down the line?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well I think the answer is Silicon Valley is not moving to Texas or Nevada or Florida. And the state does, speaking about California, it does have -- need to get some of its financial act together. But I think there are some people who have achieved fortunes who are moving to non-tax states, but the average person that's working and living, being in those markets and in those environments -- I know when it was 2 degrees in New York, I think, it was 89 here in Los Angeles. It's hard to imagine there would be huge numbers flocking to a lot of those states.

So, the honest truth is I think people in very-high tax brackets are very sensitive to that, but the average person, or the professional person who make up the bulk of employees that work with our tenants aren't doing that. I do think, though, that places like Seattle, and certainly Austin, do represent very nice opportunities for the future, certainly Austin may be a cluster over the next decade, partially because Texas is a low-tax state, and partially they've got a very positive business climate. Our original founding investor, Jacobs Engineering, actually -- amazingly, we had throwaway space when we started this company in our basement, they just moved recently to Texas to advantage of a no-tax environment, because they just did not want to pay the high taxes. But that's headquarters. Their operations are worldwide, and so the bulk of their people stayed where they are.

Jed Reagan -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Okay. Appreciate those thoughts. Thank you.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Richard Anderson with Mizuho.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Good afternoon. I apologize, I got knocked off the call. So, if I'm repeating anything, just tell me.

First one, Joel, do you have any concern at all or interest -- I guess we all have some interest -- about where Amazon's second headquarters end up? You guys now, 11% of your business is in the teach business, I'm just curious about what your thought is on that, or if it's not really occupying much of your mind at this point.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We're not involved in that. But I would say, if I had a guess, I'd guess two places: one would be just outside DC, which is rumored to be a logical place because of the desire to be more active in policy; or Texas, which is a thriving, no-tax state. So, I don't know; I don't have any inside information. I have talked to a number of groups in both the South and the Midwest, and a number of people have actually frankly said, "We're bidding on it," or trying to qualify. But the reality is, "We hope we don't get it because if it comes to neighborhood, it's going to change our culture dramatically," which I thought was pretty fascinating from the Midwest and the South.

That's about all I know, which isn't much.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Okay. Question, maybe for Dean. Again, stop me if it's been asked. But on the 10% same-store NOI growth forecasted for 2018, can you give me the roadmap just as a reminder? I know you have 9% mark to market; escalator is around 3% for a handful, from all of your portfolio; occupancy upticking on an average; but how does that you to 10%? Is there a free rent burn component? Are there tenant recoveries that are embedded in that? How do we get all the way up to 10%, if you can help us with that?

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Sure. I'll briefly cover it again, Rich.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Oh, sorry.

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Bottom line, our 10-year average has been 5%. If you were to back out recently delivered development and redevelopment projects that have free rent burning off, you'd get into that 5% to 6% range. If you recall, I think at Investor Day, I highlighted that our average occupancy through the year, it might move around quarter to quarter, but when you compare 2018 quarter to quarter versus 2017, we're going to pick up about a 1% benefit to same-property results in 2018.

So, you still have very strong core, we'll call it core same-property performance. And you really boost that to the 10% range in our guidance through free rent burn-off.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. And then lastly, the one very minor change from your guidance issued at Investor Day is that now you have a debt to EBITDA below 5.5 times. Is that just a reflection of taking down some of the forward equity, or how would you characterize that minor change?

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I'd say, importantly, that we ended up ahead of our expectations. It's funny that we do pick up on the fact that it's 5.5, and it could have been 5.6, and that would have been outstanding as well. I would say, generally speaking, we've been moving leverage in the direction that it's headed. And when you round out at a tenth of a turn better, it's just the way the things land.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Okay. So, it's just rounding error type stuff.

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. And I think importantly, our objective going forward, Rich, is to continue to improve that. We got rid of the upper end of the range that was up to maybe 5.8 at Investor Day, because it just didn't make any sense. We're not moving leverage up; it's only going down slightly from this point, and that's why we said from this point forward, it'll be below 5.5.

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

You got it. Thanks very much.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Richard.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Dave Rodgers with Baird.

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

Hey guys, maybe a first question on acquisitions, or maybe a two-part question on acquisitions; first for Dean, and then for Joel. Dean, can you tell us that the $720 million midpoint for acquisitions, what the plan is for cash flowing versus non-cash flowing, or maybe an average cap rate that you have anticipated as the year goes on? And the second part for Joel -- Joel, maybe you could talk about the competitive landscape for acquisitions right now? You guys have obviously closed some fairly high-cap-rate acquisitions, just given where we are in the cycle, and even this quarter, it looks like you're set to close on Summers Ridge, on a cash basis. So, maybe a little color on what you're seeing; are you one of the few out there that's really still active in the market?

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

So, Dave, it's Dean here. Let me just answer the high-level question about expectations for 2018 acquisitions. There's still a pretty significant value add focus on that pipeline. As a result, day one returns or yields are roughly slightly positive to bottom line FFO. And then at a stabilized basis, upon completion of development or redevelopment activities, you're going to hit right down the middle of our fairway long-term. It's still about 7% on average cash yields.

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

Hey guys, it's Peter Moglia. For what we've got in the pipeline, it's definitely weighted toward the development/redevelop side, but probably more balanced than we've been historically the last few years, where there are some stabilized opportunities that we're trying to get into. There's a number of people out there that want a joint venture with us that have good projects that we can get into, and that would deliver fairly quickly, but would be at the yields that are typical of our own developments, so those are the types of things we're seeing right now.

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

And then on the competitive side, I don't know if Joel or any of the markets had any commentary around.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I'm not sure when you say competitive side meaning --

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

I guess what you are seeing out on the market as you're bidding for these transactions -- are you finding more people, more companies bidding on lab assets? Is that a cluttered stage, or are you finding yourselves somewhat alone and continuing to be very active in that space?

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

Yes, this is Peter again. So, on the redevelopment and development things that we're buying -- they are not necessarily exclusively laboratory. They could be office product as well, so we do see a lot more competition when we are looking at those types of opportunities. Obviously, in the lab realm, like Summers Ridge that we're doing in San Diego, there was competition there as well because it was a stabilized property, and there's obviously more comfort for a lot of a parties that would like to get into lab space, to get into something that is cash flowing for a long period of time.

Operator

Okay. Thank you. The next question comes from Michael Carroll with RBC Capital Markets.

Michael Carroll -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yes, thanks. I guess, a little bit off of Dave's questions -- Peter, can you talk a little bit about, I guess, your acquisition stands right now? It seems like the company's been a little bit more aggressive recently. Is that mainly due to a lot of large development projects being completed and your cost of capital being improved, or are you seeing better opportunities out there?

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

Obviously, our cost of capital has allowed us the flexibility to go after things that may have had hold periods that were longer than we were comfortable with before, because we've got the lower cost, and able to carry things longer. But overall, I don't really think things have really changed much. We just have happened to get serendipity with a number of things that have fit our profile that have come along in the markets that we want to invest in. I don't know if it's really changed; it's just been by chance.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And I think, if you go back a year in time when we bought 1 Kendall Square, you could never imagine that it would come to market. A lot of these things, as Peter just said, are in a sense serendipitous; they come when a particular seller or money partner decides to part with an asset. They believe it's a good time, and we try to respond. We look at everything; we certainly don't go after everything. We try to be very disciplined in how we think about what we want to do, and how we want to do it.

Michael Carroll -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. And just a quick follow-up, can you talk a little bit about the stable of assets that you're interested in? Do they have to have some type of unique component, some location, or is that just a good opportunity that pops up that you're willing to pursue?

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

This is Peter again. For a stabilized asset, if we were going to pay a low cap rate for something, it would definitely have to be just in a Class AAA location and preferably have some mark to market opportunities in the future. But overall, we tend to buy things that could have very little cash flow up front, but we can get to a 6%, 7%, 8% through leasing or mark to market opportunities within two to three years.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And I would say on acquisitions, we're not interested in paying somebody else for their value. We'd like to help create the value. So, that kind of guides our acquisition philosophy.

Michael Carroll -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. And the next question comes from Karin Ford with MUFJ Securities.

Karin Ford -- MUFJ Securities -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. A recent article said that the City of New York is listening to proposals for a new life science campus and offering three city-owned sites. One of the sites, I think, is near the Alexandria Center, and another is in Queens close to Cornell's tech campus on Roosevelt Island that may have more expansion potential. Would Alexandria only be interested in expanding your existing site, or do you think there's enough positive demand to drive a second cluster in New York?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, that RFP is pretty unusual because they don't want real estate developers bidding on it. They actually want users to come in and try to occupy bases, and then bring development expertise with them. I wont comment beyond that, but that's the nature of the RFP.

Karin Ford -- MUFJ Securities -- Analyst

Okay. And second question, I saw that a large healthcare technology company, Royal Philips, had signed a large lease for about 60% of the space, and the first building under construction at Cambridge Crossing. Do you have a sense for what the rent comparison is there versus Kendall Square? And do you think it will provide some leasing momentum for that location?

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Remember that that's office, but I'll have Tom comment.

Thomas Andrews -- Executive Vice President, Regional Market Director (Greater Boston)

Yes, I think the rent there turned out to be pretty strong, not too much below Kendall Square level rents, maybe 5% to 10% below. And the balance of that building is available to lease. I'm not certain if the developer is offering the balance of the building as potential lab space. I think they're in the middle of making that decision. The building is early in construction. But as Joel mentioned, the Philips lease is office space in a building that had been programmed for both lab and office.

Karin Ford -- MUFJ Securities -- Analyst

Great. Thanks for the color.

Operator

Thank you. And we'll take our last question today from Tom Catherwood of BTIG.

Tom Catherwood -- BTIG -- Analyst

Excellent, thanks. Just one clean-up question, maybe for Steve. I know it's a small project, but on 1655-1715 Third Street in San Francisco, the January 3 prospectus had listed this as under construction with a closing on, I think it was January 5 for $39 million. The release yesterday indicated that it's more likely a February closing, and the near-term start at only $31 million initial cost. What the moving parts and the pieces with this project that have extended it out?

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Hi, Tom. It's Steve. The horizontal construction -- this is the GSW/Uber/Alexandria joint venture; we're a 10% partner there. What really needed to be completed was the horizontal construction to enable the vertical construction to start for the office tower. So, there was just a little bit of movement there over a couple week period a time. But all is on track; you can see both the arena and the building starting to take shape on the site, so it's pretty exciting for Mission Bay.

Tom Catherwood -- BTIG -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Thank you. And as there are no more questions, I would like to return the call to Mr. Marcus for any closing comments.

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Okay, well thank you very much everybody. Have a rest of the good day, and we'll talk to you on first quarter. Thank you again.

Operator

Thank you. The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 55 minutes

Call participants:

Paula Schwartz -- Investor Relations

Joel Marcus -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Dean Shigenaga -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Andrews -- Executive Vice President, Regional Market Director (Greater Boston)

Peter Moglia -- Chief Investment Officer

Stephen Richardson -- Chief Operating Officer -- Regional Market Director (San Francisco)

Jamie Feldman -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Emmanuel Korchman -- Citibank -- Analyst

Nick Yulico -- UBS -- Analyst

Sheila McGrath -- Evercore -- Analyst

Jed Reagan -- Green Street Advisors -- Analyst

Richard Anderson -- Mizuho -- Analyst

Dave Rodgers -- Baird -- Analyst

Michael Carroll -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Karin Ford -- MUFJ Securities -- Analyst

Tom Catherwood -- BTIG -- Analyst

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