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New chairman of the board, new name, newly self-managed

Wells Core Office Income REIT recently announced that it has become self-managed as of January 1, 2014. With this transition comes a name change to Signature Office REIT, Inc. (Signature REIT).Signature REIT is a non-traded REIT that focuses on acquiring Class-A office real estate in major cities.

The company did not pay an internalization fee to Wells Real Estate Funds, or any subsidiary, for the employees, assets, proprietary systems and processes necessary for self-management. The company did enter into a short-term contract with Wells Real Estate Funds for transitional purposes until January 30, 2013.

The transition to self-management also brings changes to the REIT’s leadership team. Frank M. Bishop, an independent director of the board, has taken the place of Leo F. Wells III as chairman of the board. Mr. Wells resigned as chairman of the board, president, and director of Signature REIT. Douglas Williams, executive vice president, secretary, and treasurer, has been named as acting president and chief operating officer. Previously chief accounting officer for Wells Real Estate Funds, Greg F. Smith continues his role as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Signature REIT. Signature REIT is currently searching for an individual to permanently fill the role of president.

Douglas Williams commented, “We believe that the move to self-management secures an experienced, dedicated team that is well-positioned to serve the needs of the company and its stockholders, both now and in the future.” Mr. Wells added, “I have every confidence that the Signature REIT leadership team will provide the expert management needed to lead the company into the next phase of its lifecycle.”

Pursuant to its charter, Signature REIT is required to list its shares on a national stock exchange or seek stockholder approval to either extend the listing deadline or begin to liquidate its assets by July 2020. Signature REIT’s portfolio currently consists of 13 office properties in 8 states, covering more than 2.6 million square feet with a total purchase price of $605.6 million.

Wells Core Office Income REIT commenced its primary offering in June of 2010 and after raising approximately $520 million, closed June of 2013. According to a filing, “As of September 30, 2013, substantially all of Wells Core Office Income REIT’s net offering proceeds have been invested in real properties and related assets.”