HOUSTON—As GlobeSt.com reported earlier in the month, Cassidy Turley has brought Bill Wolff on as executive managing director of office tenant representation. We caught up with Wolff to get his take on the Houston office market and what this new job has in store for him.
GlobeSt.com: Can you share your thoughts about the current state of the Houston office market?
Wolff: The Houston office market is the strongest I have ever seen in over 30 years. The interesting component to me is that I believe it is not a general rising tide for all boats sort of situation. The hot markets such as The Woodlands, Energy Corridor, Westchase are absolutely as strong as possible. The more mature markets with 30+ year old buildings are not as strong, although many owners are pushing rents to the highest levels we have ever seen. It will be interesting to see how the next 12 to 18 months works out for them.
GlobeSt.com: You’re tasked with starting a new service line for Cassidy Turley, how do you plan to do that?
Wolff: Cassidy Turley already has a great organization with strong corporate relationships. We plan on helping service those relationships in the Houston market. We also believe we are building the best real estate services providers in the world and hope to develop many new relationships with firms looking for a another choice.
GlobeSt.com: What do you think is the key to being successful at office tenant representation?
Wolff: I don’t want to sound trite but I really believe the key to success is doing “whatever it takes” to get the right result for your client. I also think that truly caring about the result is very important. A lease relationship is not like most other transactions; the landlord and tenant need to live with each other on a daily basis for many years. A good tenant representative has got to take that factor into account in all the dealings with the parties.
GlobeSt.com: What about this new position are you most looking forward to?
Wolff: Getting to work again with some of my best friends and colleagues who are with Cassidy Turley
GlobeSt.com: What are office tenants looking for in a class A property these days? How has that changed over the years?
Wolff: I think the biggest change that I have seen is that the savvy office tenant knows the ultimate success of their business revolves around their ability to recruit and retain talent. What we see today is those companies are much more concerned about being in the right location than saving $3 – $4.00 per square foot. The other major trend is that even more traditional users are now trying to develop a more flexible and efficient use of space. We see very few “traditional” build-outs and we expect that to continue.
GlobeSt.com: How do you think the market will be different in five years?
Wolff: I think that transportation, or lack thereof, is going to be the next major thing to really impact Houston. We have just finished a huge amount of new construction and will shortly finish the work on Highway 290 and the Grand Parkway extension to I-45. These have all been great things. But the era of companies trying to run away from the problem has also “run” its course. I think that concentrating on the Central Business District/Midtown area with its growing infrastructure and the new light rail lines north and east of the CBD will become even more important to the city in the next five years.