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DENVER-Hines Interests wants to build a 42-story, 640,000-sf office tower Downtown, the first building of that magnitude built in the Central Business District in almost two decades. But the softening economy may require Hines to scale it back.

Doug McKinnon, a vice president at Hines, says if he can’t get the 200,000 sf or so of pre-leasing commitments, then the building could be scaled back.

So far, Duke Energy Field Services has signed a letter of intent for 125,000 sf and another, unnamed tenant is interested in 40,000 sf, he says. McKinnon says he is talking to about three other tenants that would put Hines over the top.

“I think that it’s going to be scaled down to about 420,000-sf,” one top broker tells GlobeSt.com. “That’s the only way Hines will ever get financing.”

McKinnon says it’s likely any scaled-down building would be at least 400,000 sf, as that is its use by right on the site at 1100 15th St., across from the Denver Center for Performing Arts.

Nathan Johnson, who is marketing the building with fellow Frederick Ross Co. broker Philip Ruschmeyer, says he still hopes Hines will be able to put together a 640,000-sf deal. But it won’t be all bad if it scales down, he says. That’s because as it now stands, the floorplates start at 25,000 sf on the bottom and gradually are scaled back to about 14,000 sf on top.

Tenants overwhelmingly prefer the larger, more efficient floorplates, he says. And Johnson is confident that if Hines decides to scale back the size, it will still be a stunning looking building.

“Hines will make sure it is an architectural gem,” Johnson tells GlobeSt.com. “Just when Hines came in and did the (52-story) Wells Fargo Center, which used to be United Bank Center, the cash-register-shaped building, they’ll be making an architectural statement. No matter what the size, they won’t be building a big, boring box.”

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