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HOUSTON-Bechtel Corp., a San Francisco-based engineering and construction firm, has renewed a 420,000-sf office lease for its petroleum and chemical business headquarters at the Lakes on Post Oak office park at 3000 Post Oak Blvd. in Houston.

The decision helps the Galleria submarket to maintain one of its main tenants and keeps 1,400 jobs in Houston and Harris County. Bechtel had considered moving the office out of the city and county. W. Derrell Curry, senior vice president and Mark O’Donnell, first vice president of CB Richard Ellis in Houston, represented Bechtel in the lease negotiations.

The class A building is a hallmark in the 23 million sf Uptown-Galleria submarket. The Galleria Area Chamber of Commerce estimates the submarket’s size to be on par with downtown Pittsburgh. If counted, the Uptown-Galleria would rank as the 15th largest downtown in the United States.

O’Donnell says companies such as Bechtel recognize that staying or relocating to Houston presents a win-win proposition. While employees enjoy Houston’s enhanced lifestyle amenities, the company gains valuable access to the global energy community while improving its bottom line. Curry adds that Houston’s lease rates, which average $19.01 per sf still remain among the lowest in the country. Cities like San Francisco are asking $28.13 per sf, Chicago $25.56 per sf and Manhattan $51.08 per sf.

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