HOUSTON—Multi-million-dollar capital investments in olderproperties can have them competing with modern-dayoffice developments if owners focus ontechnology and sustainability,says Roger Vasquez, director of engineering andproperty management for Transwestern. In thefollowing Q&A, Vasquez talks to the firm's president,Kevin Roberts, about Pennzoil Place, a1.8-million-gross-square-foot office property here whose ownerexecuted technological and sustainable capital improvements and wasable to slash its electrical costs, pass the savings on to itstenants and generate money through a nationwide initiative. He alsotalks about how capital improvements can provide landlords withgreater gains and make their properties more valuable.

Roberts: Many building owners are not fullyrealizing the potential gains of capital-improvement projects. Theowner of Pennzoil Place worked with Transwestern on an innovativerehabilitation that has attracted much industry attention. In anutshell, what was implemented at Pennzoil Place that is sodifferent?

Vasquez: Pennzoil Place consists oftwo 36-story, glass-walled buildings constructed in 1975. Followinga multi-million-dollar capital investment by ownerMetropolis Investment Holdings Inc., the40-year-old landmarks are successfully competing against modern-dayoffice developments in Downtown Houston. In June, Pennzoil Placeand Transwestern won Realcomm's 2014 Digie Awardfor Most Intelligent Office Building as a resultof the improvement plan. The owner completed a major overhaul ofmechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning andventilation systems, but the project's unique feature is theaddition of a Cisco fiber-optic backbone thatallows us to tie together all existing and future technologies inthe buildings. Installing this Cisco IP-centric technology hasrevolutionized the assets and the way we manage them. Thetechnology enabled metropolis to implement energy-efficientstrategies, save money on vendor services and generate new revenuestreams.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.