updated 10/25/2010 9:15:49 AM ET 2010-10-25T13:15:49

MINOT, N.D., Oct. 25, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Investors Real Estate Trust ("IRET") (Nasdaq:IRET) (Nasdaq:IRETP) announced today that Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) and Trinity Health have signed long-term leases with IRET's operating partnership, IRET Properties, to occupy commercial space at IRET Corporate Plaza located at 3015 16th Street SW in Minot, North Dakota.

Hess Corporation is a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. Hess discovered oil in North Dakota in 1951 and is the third-largest oil producer and largest gas producer in the state. Hess operates the Tioga Gas Plant and has additional operations in Williston as well as other communities throughout western North Dakota.

Hess will occupy approximately 48,500 square feet of office space at IRET Corporate Plaza and has the option to lease additional space as it becomes available. Subject to scheduling and the completion of certain improvements, Hess is expected to begin occupying the space in stages starting early in 2011. IRET's Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Tom Wentz, commented, "This is a very exciting real estate transaction not only for IRET, but also the community of Minot and Hess. We are very pleased with the outcome and how IRET's decision approximately four years ago to develop IRET Corporate Plaza in Minot has not only grown the City's property tax base but has provided Minot with the type of office space necessary to allow an international energy company such as Hess to locate a significant number of jobs into our community."

As part of the transaction, Trinity Health, a community-based, non-profit healthcare organization, has agreed to occupy a new 22,000 square foot, one-story medical clinic to be built by IRET on land located in the northwest area of the IRET Corporate Plaza parcel. Construction of the new facility is scheduled to start yet this fall, with completion and occupancy by Trinity expected early summer of 2011.  

According to IRET's President and Chief Executive Officer, Tim Mihalick, "Being headquartered in Minot, IRET is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the real estate opportunities afforded by western North Dakota's energy development and resulting growth.  Our focus is on making investments in quality real estate occupied by tenants with strong commitments to the communities where we invest. These two transactions are an excellent fit as both Trinity and Hess have a long-standing presence in Minot and western North Dakota respectively and both have now confirmed that commitment with their agreement to occupy over 70,000 square feet of office and medical space in Minot on a long-term basis."

IRET Corporate Plaza complex is a three-story building completed in 2009 containing over 250,000 square feet of space including commercial office and retail space as well as 71 luxury apartments and approximately 145 underground, climate-controlled parking spaces. Current tenants include Big Apple Bagels, IRET's Corporate Headquarters, Hess Corporation and Trinity Medical.

IRET will continue to own and manage IRET Corporate Plaza and the new medical facility to be occupied by Trinity Health. IRET was represented by Duemelands Commercial Real Estate for both the Trinity Health and Hess transactions. Hess Corporation was represented by Tim Relyea of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, Inc.

About Investors Real Estate Trust

IRET is an equity real estate investment trust founded in 1970 with a diversified portfolio of multi-family residential, office, medical, industrial and retail properties located in 14 states, primarily in the upper Midwest. IRET's headquarters are located in Minot, North Dakota, and it has additional offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Omaha, Nebraska. IRET's common shares of beneficial interest trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol IRET. For more information, visit IRET's website at www.iret.com.

Safe Harbor

Statements about IRET's future expectations and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. Since these statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, the Company's actual results could differ materially from expected results.

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