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DALLAS-A 200,000-sf lease, valued at $35 million, is the strongest sign yet that Dallas CBD revitalization efforts are taking root. With the 12-year signing comes the first renaming of a downtown high-rise since 1993, says Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. whose team brokered this year’s landmark deal.

The 34-story, 825,000-sf Maxus Energy Tower at 717 N. Harwood will be the new home for KPMG Consulting Inc.’s Dallas team, which now is split between the Crescent in Uptown and Brookriver Center near Love Field. KPMG is planning a December 2002 move-in, coming one month after the Crescent lease expires. The Brookriver team will relocate in March 2003.

The signing undoubtedly is the largest office lease to come down the pike this year. And, Trammell Crow is all smiles since it’s filling all of the space–and then some–that came with this summer’s retreat by Maxus Energy to Houston and San Antonio. The energy firm was the lead tenant since the tower opened in 1980.

An $8-million lobby makeover and seven floor build-out are in the offing, Tony Long, Trammell Crow’s managing director, tells GlobeSt.com. The deal, in the negotiating stage for six months, “says that people have faith in the vibrancy of our CBD,” he adds.

For the past decade, KPMG has been actively involved in the Uptown revitalization and intends to carry that spark with it to the CBD, says Donald C. Spitzer, KPMG Southwest area managing partner. The KPMG team, he continues, is “pleased to be moving back to the heart of Dallas’ CBD where we have conducted business for most of our 86 years in Dallas.”

The tower’s new name will be announced later, says Michael Feldt, Trammell Crow’s vice president of the management and leasing agent for the property. The KPMG lease takes the tower to 85% occupancy. But by year’s end that could be boosted to 95%, Long confides, saying several deals are in the talking stages with 25,000-sf to 50,000-sf users. He’s not predicting when the deals will close since leases these days “have taken on a life of their own.” The class A high-rise. which carries a quoted rate of $18 per sf plus electric, has a sky bridge that connects to an above-grade parking garage, fitness club and restaurant.

Dallas-based Staubach Co.’s Carl Ewert, executive vice president, represented KPMG, a division of Netherlands-based KPMG International Inc. Feldt handled talks for the building owner, an affiliate of the GE Pension Trust.

The KPMG signing comes on the heels of an 81,250-sf pact inked for the pension fund’s 871,291-sf Campbell Centre I at the North Dallas intersection of Northwest Highway and Central Expressway. Pegasus, a leading supplier of technology information for the hospitality industry, has signed a long-term lease for the top five floors that also brings its name to the 31-year-old, class A building, situated at 8350 N. Central Expressway.

Pegasus plans to relocate from Turtle Creek Center at 3811 Turtle Creek in first quarter 2002, says Long. Jim Vanderslice and Steve Thelan, both of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.’s Dallas office, brokered the deal for Pegasus while Joel Pustmueller, Trammell Crow principal, handled talks for the building owner. The signing takes the building to 80% occupancy, with deals pending that could push that to the low 90%, says Long.

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