Columbia Property Trust CEO Nelson Mills with 799 Broadway and 149 Madison Avenue (CPT)

Columbia Property Trust CEO Nelson Mills with 799 Broadway and 149 Madison Avenue (CPT)

The board of Columbia Property Trust is seriously considering an unsolicited proposal to acquire the real estate investment trust for about $2.24 billion.

The Manhattan-based REIT allocated $2.4 million in strategic review costs for that purpose, according to its quarterly financial report.

CEO Nelson Mills said during an earnings call Thursday that Arkhouse Partners, which made the bid in mid-March, is “very much part of the process.”

“They have access to the data room and access to us and our advisers,” he said. “It’s always been a friendly, open dialogue.”

No timeline has been set for how long the review will take as it depends on how the process evolves, Mills said.

“We certainly don’t want to drag it out for months and months,” he said, adding that the best guess may be a few months. “We’re really focused on it with our advisers, Morgan Stanley, and our advisory team.”

Arkhouse Partners, which is teaming up with the Sapir Organization and 8F Investment Partners on the bid, is offering $19.50 per share. Since the bid was announced, the REIT’s stock price has gone up from about $14 per share in February to north of $18.

The stock price run-up follows a painful quarter in which Columbia Property Trust reported a 10.3 percent year-over-year decline in its normalized funds from operations.

First-quarter revenue from the REIT’s operation was $64.4 million, down 15.6 percent from a year ago but up 2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020.

Still, the REIT’s executives maintained an optimistic view, saying that property tours by prospective tenants at its properties — including soon-to-open 799 Broadway and 149 Madison Avenue — have dramatically increased lately, and existing tenants in its portfolio are beginning to plan in earnest for life after Covid.

“We’re not declaring full recovery, just yet, by any means,” Mills said. “But we do see a lot of positive movements in our portfolio.”