HOUSTON-Continuing demand and tighter vacancies have pushed the 580,875-sf 5 Houston Center to a new benchmark, $30 per sf, triple net for its quoted rent. The five-year-old office building is the first one in the city to reach that level, but local professionals tell GlobeSt.com that it won’t be the last.

“When we took over leasing of the building almost a year ago, the rates were at $18 per sf net,” says Brad Fricks, vice president of Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners LP’s Houston office. “Most of the leases we’ve made in the past year are $24 per sf and higher.” Underwriting the uptick is the 99% occupancy in the 1400 McKinney St. high rise.

According to Jim Arket senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Houston office, rising demand and a scarcity of large blocks of space are spiking rents into record-breaking territory. In a second-quarter report, Grubb & Ellis researchers found class A space’s vacancy is just 8.7%. The average gross rate is $30.60 per sf, up 37.2% from the same time a year ago.

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