Alexander's, Inc. (ALX) is a real estate investment trust that owns the Bloomberg office building in New York as well as several valuable shopping centers in and around the New York metropolitan area. It also holds more than $100 per share in cash. Alexander's share price was unchanged in the quarter. Steve Roth is the Chairman of this company, has been a friend of mine for more than 25 years and is generally acknowledged to be one of the great real estate investors in this country. As importantly, years ago Steve made sure he handled succession issues for this company and Vornado Realty Trust by hiring Mike Fascitelli. Mike is a younger version of Steve and spoke at our annual meeting several years ago. Alexander's share price was recently trading above $420 per share. The company then announced it would sell one of its shopping centers and pay its shareholders a one time $122 per share long-term capital gain dividend in December. Jeff Kolitch manages our firm's top performing fund this year, Baron Real Estate Fund, which has increased about 35% this year. Following Alexander's property sale and dividend announcement, Jeff asked me if I remembered when we purchased Alexander's and what we paid for it? I told him I thought we owned it for at least 10 to 15 years and was certain our initial cost was well below $100 per share. Jeff responded, "You began to buy Alexander's in 1992 and your initial cost was $18 per share!" Alexander's owns and operates buildings in New York City, one of the most difficult markets in our country to build and acquire real estate, which provides that company significant advantage over potential competitors.
From Baron Funds’ third quarter commentary.