Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

v3.20.4
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
    
Investment Properties
    
The Company records investment properties and related intangibles at fair value upon acquisition. Investment properties include both acquired and constructed assets. Improvements and major repairs and maintenance are capitalized when the repair and maintenance substantially extends the useful life, increases capacity or improves the efficiency of the asset. All other repair and maintenance costs are expensed as incurred. The Company capitalizes interest on projects during periods of construction until the projects reach the completion point that corresponds with their intended purpose.
    
The Company allocates the purchase price of acquisitions to the various components of the asset based upon the fair value of each component which may be derived from various observable or unobservable inputs and assumptions. Also, the Company may utilize third party valuation specialists. These components typically include buildings, land and any intangible assets related to out-of-market leases, tenant relationships and in-place leases the Company determines to exist. The Company determines fair value based on estimated cash flow projections that utilize appropriate discount and capitalization rates and available market information. Estimates of future cash flows are based on a number of factors including the historical operating results, known trends and specific market and economic conditions that may affect the property. Factors considered by management in the analysis of determining the as-if-vacant property value include an estimate of carrying costs during the expected lease-up periods considering market conditions, and costs to execute similar leases. In estimating carrying costs, management includes real estate taxes, insurance and estimates of lost rentals at market rates during the expected lease-up periods, tenant demand and other economic conditions. Management also estimates costs to execute similar leases including leasing commissions, tenant improvements, legal and other related expenses. Intangibles related to out-of-market leases, tenant relationships and in-place lease value are recorded at fair value as acquired lease intangibles and are amortized as an adjustment to rental revenue or amortization expense, as appropriate, over the remaining terms of the underlying leases.
    
The Company records depreciation on buildings and improvements utilizing the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset, generally 5 to 40 years. The Company reviews depreciable lives of investment properties periodically and makes adjustments to reflect a shorter economic life, when necessary. Tenant allowances, tenant inducements and tenant improvements are amortized utilizing the straight-line method over the term of the related lease or occupancy term of the tenant, if shorter.
 
Amounts allocated to buildings are depreciated over the estimated remaining life of the acquired building or related improvements. The Company amortizes amounts allocated to tenant improvements, in-place lease assets and other lease-related intangibles over the remaining life of the underlying leases. The Company also estimates the value of other acquired intangible assets, if any, and amortizes them over the remaining life of the underlying related intangibles.
    
The Company reviews investment properties for impairment on a property-by-property basis whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of investment properties may not be recoverable, but at least annually. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, declines in the property’s cash flows, occupancy and fair market value. The Company measures any impairment of investment property when the estimated undiscounted future operating income before depreciation and amortization, plus its residual value, is less than the carrying value of the property. Estimated undiscounted operating income before depreciation and amortization includes various Level 3 fair value assumptions including renewal and renegotiations of current leases, estimates of new leases on vacant spaces, estimates of operating costs and fluctuating market conditions. The renewal and renegotiations of leases in some cases must be approved by additional third parties outside the control of the Company and the tenant. If such renewed or renegotiated leases are approved at amounts below current estimates, then impairment adjustments may be necessary in the future. To the extent impairment has occurred, the Company charges to income the excess of the carrying value of the property over its estimated fair value. The Company estimates fair value using unobservable data such as operating income, estimated capitalization rates, or multiples, leasing prospects for vacant spaces and local market information. These valuation assumptions are based on the three-level valuation hierarchy for fair value measurement and represent Level 3 inputs. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities.     

Assets Held For Sale and Discontinued Operations

The Company may decide to sell properties that are held for use. The Company records these properties as held for sale when management has committed to a plan to sell the assets, actively seeks a buyer for the assets, and the consummation of
the sale is considered probable and is expected within one year. Properties classified as held for sale are reported at the lower of their carrying value or their fair value, less estimated costs to sell. When the carrying value exceeds the fair value, less estimated costs to sell an impairment expense is recognized. The Company estimates fair value, less estimated closing costs based on similar real estate sales transactions. These valuation assumptions are based on the three-level valuation hierarchy for fair value measurement and represent Level 2 and 3 inputs. Level 2 inputs are quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets; quoted prices for identical or similar assets in markets that are not active; and inputs other than quoted prices. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities. See Note 3 for additional details on impairment of assets held for sale for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Assets held for sale are presented as discontinued operations in all periods presented if the disposition represents a strategic shift that has, or will have, a major effect on the Company's financial position or results of operations. This includes the net gain (or loss) upon disposal of property held for sale, the property's operating results, depreciation and interest expense.
    
Conditional Asset Retirement Obligation
    
A conditional asset retirement obligation represents a legal obligation to perform an asset retirement activity in which the timing and/or method of settlement depends on a future event that may or may not be within the Company’s control. Currently, the Company does not have any conditional asset retirement obligations. However, any such obligations identified in the future would result in the Company recording a liability if the fair value of the obligation can be reasonably estimated. Environmental studies conducted at the time the Company acquired its properties did not reveal any material environmental liabilities, and the Company is unaware of any subsequent environmental matters that would have created a material liability. The Company believes that its properties are currently in material compliance with applicable environmental, as well as non-environmental, statutory and regulatory requirements. The Company did not record any conditional asset retirement obligation liabilities as of December 31, 2020 and 2019.
    
Cash and Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash
    
The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of 90 days or less to be cash and cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are carried at cost, which approximates fair value. Cash equivalents consist primarily of bank operating accounts and money markets. Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to concentrations of credit risk include its cash and cash equivalents and its trade accounts receivable. The Company places its cash and cash equivalents with institutions of high credit quality.

Restricted cash represents amounts held by lenders for real estate taxes, insurance, reserves for capital improvements, leasing costs, tenant security deposits and funds held for the 2020 tender offer, see Note 8 for further details related to the tender offer.
    
The Company places its cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash on deposit with financial institutions in the United States, which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company ("FDIC") up to $250 thousand. The Company's loss in the event of failure of these financial institutions is represented by the difference between the FDIC limit and the total amounts on deposit. Management monitors the financial institutions credit worthiness in conjunction with balances on deposit to minimize risk.
    
Tenant Receivables and Unbilled Rent
    
Tenant receivables include base rents, tenant reimbursements and receivables attributable to recording rents on a straight-line basis. The Company determines an allowance for the uncollectible portion of accrued rents and accounts receivable based upon customer credit-worthiness (including expected recovery of a claim with respect to any tenants in bankruptcy), historical bad debt levels, and current economic trends. The Company considers a receivable past due once it becomes delinquent per the terms of the lease. The Company’s standard lease form considers a rent charge past due after five days. A past due receivable triggers certain events such as notices, fees and other allowable and required actions per the lease. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company’s allowance for uncollectible tenant receivables totaled $994 thousand and $1.14 million, respectively.
Notes Receivable

Notes receivable represent financing to Sea Turtle Development ("Sea Turtle") as discussed in Note 4. The notes were secured by a second deed of trust on the underlying real estate known as Sea Turtle Development. The Company evaluates the collectability of both the interest and principal of the notes receivable based primarily upon the projected fair market value of the project at stabilization. The notes receivable are determined to be impaired when, based upon current information, it is no longer probable that the Company will be able to collect all contractual amounts due from the borrower. The amount of impairment loss recognized is measured as the difference between the carrying amount of the note and its estimated realizable value. The impairment on the Sea Turtle Development note is further discussed at Note 4.
    
Above and Below Market Lease Intangibles, net

The Company determines the above and below market lease intangibles upon acquiring a property. Above and below market lease intangibles are amortized over the life of the respective leases. Amortization of above and below market lease intangibles is recorded as a component of rental revenues.

Deferred Costs and Other Assets, net
    
The Company’s deferred costs and other assets consist primarily of leasing commissions, leases in place, capitalized legal and marketing costs, tenant relationships and ground lease sandwich interest intangibles associated with acquisitions. The Company’s lease origination costs consist primarily of the portion of property acquisitions allocated to lease originations and commissions paid to third parties in connection with lease originations. The Company generally records amortization of lease origination costs on a straight-line basis over the terms of the related leases. Amortization of deferred costs and other assets represents a component of depreciation and amortization expense.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Company received proceeds of $552 thousand (the "PPP funds") pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (the "PPP") under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

The PPP funds were received in the form of a promissory note, dated April 24, 2020 (the “Promissory Note”), between the Company and KeyBank as the lender that matures on April 24, 2022 bearing interest at a fixed rate of 1% per annum, payable monthly commencing seven months from the date of the note. Under the terms of the PPP, the principal may be forgiven if the proceeds are used for qualifying expenses as described in the CARES Act, such as payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. See Note 12 for additional details regarding forgiveness. The PPP proceeds are included in "accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities" on the consolidated balance sheets.

Derivative Financial Instruments

The Company does not use derivative instruments to hedge exposures to cash flow, market, or foreign currency risks. The Company evaluates all of its financial instruments, including stock purchase warrants, to determine if such instruments are derivatives or contain features that qualify as embedded derivatives. For derivative financial instruments that are accounted for as liabilities, the derivative instrument is initially recorded at its fair value and is then re-valued at each reporting date, with changes in the fair value reported in the consolidated statement of operations. The assumptions used in these fair value estimates are based on the three-level valuation hierarchy for fair value measurement and represent Level 3 inputs. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities.

Debt Issuance Costs

The Company may record debt issuance costs in connection with raising funds through the issuance of debt. These costs may be paid in the form of cash, or equity (such as warrants). These costs are amortized to interest expense over the life of the debt. If a conversion of the underlying debt occurs, a proportionate share of the unamortized amounts is immediately expensed.
Operating Partnership Purchase of Stock

The Operating Partnership purchased 71,343 shares of the Series D Preferred Stock on September 22, 2020 from an unaffiliated investor at $15.50 per share. The Company considers the purchase of the REIT's equity securities to be retired in the consolidated financial statements. See Note 8 for additional details.

Revenue Recognition

Lease Contract Revenue
    
The Company has two classes of underlying assets relating to rental revenue activity, retail and office space. The Company retains substantially all of the risks and benefits of ownership of these underlying assets and accounts for these leases as operating leases. The Company combines lease and nonlease components in lease contracts, which includes combining base rent and tenant reimbursement revenue.

The Company accrues minimum rents on a straight-line basis over the terms of the respective leases which results in an unbilled rent asset or deferred rent liability being recorded on the balance sheet. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, there were $4.48 million and $3.41 million, respectively, in unbilled rent which is included in "rents and other tenant receivables, net." Additionally, certain of the lease agreements contain provisions that grant additional rents based on tenants’ sales volumes (contingent or percentage rent). Percentage rents are recognized when the tenants achieve the specified targets as defined in their lease agreements as variable lease income.

The Company’s leases generally require the tenant to reimburse the Company for a substantial portion of its expenses incurred in operating, maintaining, repairing, insuring and managing the shopping center and common areas (collectively defined as Common Area Maintenance or “CAM” expenses). This significantly reduces the Company’s exposure to increases in costs and operating expenses resulting from inflation or other outside factors. These reimbursements are considered nonlease components which the Company combines with the lease component. The Company calculates the tenant’s share of operating costs by multiplying the total amount of the operating costs by a fraction, the numerator of which is the total number of square feet being leased by the tenant, and the denominator of which is the average total square footage of all leasable buildings at the property. The Company also receives monthly payments for these reimbursements from substantially all its tenants throughout the year. The Company recognizes tenant reimbursements as variable lease income. The Company recognizes differences between estimated recoveries and the final billed amounts in the subsequent year. These differences were not material for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Additionally, the Company has tenants who pay real estate taxes directly to the taxing authority. The Company excludes these Company costs paid directly by the tenant to third parties on the Company’s behalf from both variable revenue payments recognized and the associated property operating expenses. The Company does not evaluate whether certain sales taxes and other similar taxes are the Company’s costs or tenants' costs. Instead, the Company accounts for these costs as tenant costs.

The Company recognizes lease termination fees, which are included in "other revenues" on the consolidated statements of operations, in the year that the lease is terminated and collection of the fee is reasonably assured. Upon early lease termination, the Company provides for losses related to unrecovered intangibles and other assets.

Beginning in April 2020, the Company received certain rent relief requests, most often in the form of rent deferral requests, as a result of COVID-19. The Company evaluates each tenant rent relief request on an individual basis, considering a number of factors. Not all tenant requests ultimately result in concessions or modification of agreements, nor is the Company forgoing its contractual rights under its lease agreements. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (the "FASB") issued a question-and-answer document (the “Lease Modification Q&A”) focused on the application of lease accounting guidance to lease concessions provided as a result of COVID-19. The Lease Modification Q&A clarifies that entities may elect to treat qualifying lease concessions as if they were based on enforceable rights and obligations, and may choose to apply or not to apply modification accounting to those qualifying concessions. Qualifying concessions must be in response to COVID-19 and not have a substantial increase in the lessee’s obligation or the lessor’s rights under the contract. The Company has elected not to apply ASC 842 modification guidance for concessions that did not increase the lease term, generally these concessions do not impact the overall economics of the lease. Concessions that extend the lease term are accounted for under ASC 842, lease modification guidance.
The below table disaggregates the Company’s revenue by type of service for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in thousands):
Years Ended December 31,
2020 2019
Minimum rent $ 46,349  $ 49,006 
Tenant reimbursements - variable lease revenue 13,273  13,369 
Percentage rent - variable lease revenue 393  334 
Straight-line rents 1,155  182 
Lease termination fees 178  117 
Other 786  603 
     Subtotal 62,134  63,611 
Credit losses on operating lease receivables (1,131) (449)
     Total $ 61,003  $ 63,162 

Income Taxes
    
The Company has elected to be taxed as a REIT under Sections 856 through 860 of the Internal Revenue Code and applicable Treasury regulations relating to REIT qualification. In order to maintain this REIT status, the regulations require the Company to distribute at least 90% of its taxable income to stockholders and meet certain other asset and income tests, as well as other requirements. If the Company fails to qualify as a REIT, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates for the years in which it fails to qualify. If the Company loses its REIT status it could not elect to be taxed as a REIT for five years unless the Company’s failure to qualify was due to reasonable cause and certain other conditions were satisfied.
 
Management has evaluated the effect of the guidance provided by GAAP on Accounting for Uncertainty of Income Taxes and has determined that the Company had no uncertain income tax positions.

Taxable REIT Subsidiary Cost Allocation

The Company’s overall philosophy regarding cost allocation centers around the premise that the Trust exists to acquire, lease and manage properties for the benefit of its investors. Accordingly, a majority of the Company’s operations occur at the property level. Each property must carry its own weight by absorbing the costs associated with generating its revenues. Additionally, leases generally allow the Company to pass through to the tenant most of the costs involved in operating the property, including, but not limited to, the direct costs associated with owning and maintaining the property (landscaping, repairs and maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc.), property management and certain administrative costs.

Service vendors bill the majority of the direct costs of operating the properties directly to the particular property and each property pays them accordingly. The Non-REIT Properties pay WRE property management and/or asset management fees of 3% and 2% of collected revenues, respectively. The Non-REIT Properties also pay WRE leasing commissions based on the total contractual revenues to be generated under the new/renewed lease agreement (6% for new leases and 3% for renewals).

Costs incurred to manage, lease and administer the Non-REIT Properties are allocated to the TRS. These costs include compensation and benefits, property management, leasing and other corporate, general and administrative expenses associated with generating the TRS' revenues.

Financial Instruments
    
The carrying amount of financial instruments included in assets and liabilities approximates fair market value due to their immediate or short-term maturity.
Use of Estimates
    
The Company has made estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, and revenues and expenses during the reported periods. The Company’s actual results could differ from these estimates.
    
    Corporate General and Administrative Expense
    
    A detail for the "corporate general & administrative" line item from the consolidated statements of operations is presented below (in thousands):
    
December 31,
2020 2019
Professional fees $ 2,466  $ 2,534 
Compensation and benefits 1,589  1,991 
Corporate administration 1,240  1,259 
Advertising costs for leasing activities 117  276 
Other 419  573 
     Total $ 5,831  $ 6,633 
    
Other Expense

Other expense represents expenses which are non-operating in nature. Other expenses during the year ended December 31, 2020 were $1.04 million in legal settlement costs and reimbursement of 2019 proxy costs, see Note 10 and Note 11 for additional details.

Leases Commitments

The Company determines if an arrangement is a lease at inception. Operating leases, in which the Company is the lessee, are included in operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and operating lease liabilities on our consolidated balance sheets.

ROU assets represent the right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and the lease liabilities represent our obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Operating lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. As most of the Company's leases do not provide an implicit rate, the Company uses its incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. The operating lease ROU assets include any lease payments made and excludes lease incentives. The Company's lease terms may include options to extend the lease when it is reasonably certain that the company will exercise that option. Lease expense for lease payments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

The Company elects the practical expedient to combine lease and associated nonlease components. The lease components are the majority of its leasing arrangements and the Company accounts for the combined component as an operating lease. In the event the Company modifies existing ground leases or enters into new ground leases, such leases may be classified as finance leases.

Noncontrolling Interests
    
Noncontrolling interests is the portion of equity in the Operating Partnership not attributable to the Trust. The ownership interests not held by the parent are considered noncontrolling interests. Accordingly, noncontrolling interests have been reported in equity on the consolidated balance sheets but separate from the Company’s equity. On the consolidated statements of operations, the subsidiaries are reported at the consolidated amount, including both the amount attributable to the
Company and noncontrolling interests. Consolidated statements of equity include beginning balances, activity for the period and ending balances for stockholders’ equity, noncontrolling interests and total equity.
    
The noncontrolling interest of the Operating Partnership common unit holders is calculated by multiplying the noncontrolling interest ownership percentage at the balance sheet date by the Operating Partnership’s net assets (total assets less total liabilities). The noncontrolling interest percentage is calculated at any point in time by dividing the number of units not owned by the Company by the total number of units outstanding. The noncontrolling interest ownership percentage will change as additional units are issued or as units are exchanged for the Company’s $0.01 par value per share common stock ("Common Stock"). In accordance with GAAP, any changes in the value from period to period are charged to additional paid-in capital.

Adoption of ASC Topic 842, “Leases”

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued ASU 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842)”, to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by requiring the recognition of ROU assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet. The Company adopted ASU 2016-02 as of January 1, 2019 using the modified retrospective approach within ASU 2018-11, which allows for the application date to be the beginning of the reporting period in which the entity first applies the new standard. The Company did not have a cumulative-effect adjustment as of the adoption date.

The Company elected the package of transition practical expedients where the company is either the lessee or lessor, which among other things, allowed the Company to carry forward the historical lease classifications and use hindsight in determining the lease terms.

The standard had a material impact on the Company's consolidated balance sheets, but did not have a material impact on the consolidated statements of operations. The most significant impact was the recognition of ROU assets and lease liabilities of approximately $11.90 million and $11.99 million, respectively, for operating leases as of January 1, 2019, calculated based on an incremental borrowing rate of 4.84%. The difference between the ROU assets and lease liabilities at adoption represents the accrued straight-line rent liability previously recognized under ASC 840. The standard had no impact on the Company's cash flows.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, "Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments." This update enhances the methodology of measuring expected credit losses to include the use of forward-looking information to better calculate credit loss estimates. The guidance will apply to most financial assets measured at amortized cost and certain other instruments, such as accounts receivable and loans. The guidance will require that the Company estimate the lifetime expected credit loss with respect to these receivables and record allowances that, when deducted from the balance of the receivables, represent the net amounts expected to be collected. The Company will also be required to disclose information about how it developed the allowances, including changes in the factors that influenced the Company’s estimate of expected credit losses and the reasons for those changes. The guidance would be effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2022, per FASB's issuance of ASU 2019-10, "Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326), Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815), and Leases (Topic 842): Effective Dates." The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the impact the adoption of the guidance will have on its consolidated financial statements.

In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-13, "Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820)". This update modifies the disclosure requirements on fair value measurements in Topic 820 with several removals, modifications and additions for disclosures, which includes both prospective and retrospective disclosures. The guidance adds prospective disclosures related to the range and weighted average of significant unobservable inputs used to develop Level 3 fair value measurements including measurement uncertainty disclosures to communicate the uncertainty in the measurement as of the reporting date. The Company adopted this ASU as of January 1, 2020. The adoption did not have material impact on its consolidated financial statements upon adoption of the guidance and there were no retrospective disclosures necessary.

Other accounting standards that have been issued or proposed by the FASB or other standard-setting bodies are not currently applicable to the Company or are not expected to have a significant impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Reclassifications

The Company has reclassified certain prior period amounts in the accompanying consolidated financial statements in order to be consistent with the current period presentation. These reclassifications had no effect on net income, total assets, total liabilities or equity. The revenue from asset management fees and commissions were reclassified to other revenues on the consolidated statements of operations for consistency with current period presentation.