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NRDC plan to convert SPAC into REIT approved

Shareholders have backed plans to turn the special purpose acquisition vehicle set up by NRDC in 2007 into a REIT. The SPAC, which raised $414m in its 2007 IPO, would have legally had to liquidate if shareholders had said no.

NRDC Equity Partners has been given the green light to turn its $414 million SPAC into a retail-focused REIT following the backing of shareholders.

Retail Opportunity Investments Trust, as the special purpose acquisition vehicle is now known, will target necessity-based retail on the East and West coasts of the US.

NRDC, founded by developers Robert and Richard Baker with AREA Property Partners’ Bill Mack and Lee Niebart, formed the blank cheque company in 2007 with the intention of targeting US real estate and retail businesses.

However, since closing the offering on 23 October 2007, the retail sector has taken a hammering, leaving the SPAC with no businesses it could acquire. Under Delaware corporation law, the vehicle would have had to liquidate its proceeds without special approval from shareholders.

In a statement, Retail Opportunity Investments Trust said less than 1 percent of shareholders opposed the company conversion. ROIT’s chief investment officer Stuart Tanz said the vote reinforced the firm’s “belief that we can execute our business plan effectively to create value for our stockholders”.

In August, Tanz, formerly with Pan Pacific Retail Properties, said “necessity-based retail properties will fare better than other types of retail real estate as consumers continue to spend on necessity items while cutting back on luxury and other non-essential purchases.”