AUSTIN-Robert Halff International isn’t taking any chances with the strapped Austin office market, moving from one Equity Office Properties Trust building into another and signing a five-year lease to seal the deal.

Halff, a specialty temporary staffing agency, is occupying 9,708 sf in the 21-story, 400,000-sf San Jacinto Center. Halff had been officing in 2,755 sf right across the street at One Congress Plaza, a 30-story, 517,849-sf structure.

Mark Miller, Equity’s leasing director, says Halff had plans to expand its Austin operations, but had been unable to secure extra space at One Congress Plaza. “And there was no room for their growth. We were fortunate that we were able to help out one of our clients in a really, really tight market,” Miller tells

Equity owns three class-A office buildings in Austin’s Central Business District, which currently has a 1.8% vacancy rate. Practically all of Equity’s 1.44 million sf is taken–including the 2,755 sf vacated by Halff. Signing for Halff’s vacated space is Arthur Andersen financial services and the Hance Scarbrough law firm, says Miller.

One Congress Avenue remains fully leased while San Jacinto is 99.7% filled. The outstanding space is under option, says Miller. Meanwhile, Equity’s third class-A Austin property, the 32-story, 505,770-sf One American Center, is 90.5% leased. Miller says the triple office structures, all in the Central Business District, gives Equity “some flexibility that others don’t have” in a class-A market that he believes is the tightest it’s been in decades.

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