American Realty Capital Trust is taking its flagship nontraded REIT public and it will become an independent entity.

The company has filed an application to list the common stock of American Realty Capital Trust on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol ARCT and expects its common stock to be listed March 1.

By going public, the REIT will return shareholder money, said company spokesman Tony DeFazio. Other options to achieve that goal were to sell the portfolio or merge, but the board decided going public was the best choice. He added that this is the first nontraded REIT to go public since 2008.

American Realty Capital Trust, which owns real estate all over the country, plans to offer 6.6 million shares of common stock. It also announced a tender offer in which it will offer to purchase between $200 million and $250 million of the common stock from stockholders at between $10.50 and $11 a share.

The company intends to continue payment of monthly distributions at an annualized rate of 70 cents per share. The February 2012 distribution will be paid by March 5, 2012, to shareholders of record on February 29, 2012. The company's 2011 distribution was characterized as approximately 100% return of capital for tax reporting purposes.

American Realty Capital, based in New York City, sponsors eight other nontraded REITs and one business development company.