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HOUSTON-Clarion Partners has closed on somehwat of a milestone sale for the local market. According to Richard Rudd, senior managing director of Granite Partners, which brokered the deal, the purchase of Norfolk Tower, an 11-story, 204,151-sf office building, “was the first multi-tenant Houston office building purchased by an institutional investor this year.” Norfolk Tower is located at 2211 Norfolk near Southwest Freeway on the fringes of the Greenway Plaza submarket.

New York City-based Clarion represented an unidentified union pension fund in the buy. Seller McCord Development of Houston will continue to manage the 95.6%-occupied building.

No one’s discussing the selling price, but a building of this caliber would command upward of $90 per sf. Its location within the Inner Loop, size, high occupancy and the amenity of structured parking would easily put the building into that selling range, Ken Page, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.’s financial services group, tells GlobeSt.com.

Granite Partners’ Rudd and Robert Williamson, managing director, handled the transaction. Williamson tells GlobeSt.com that Houston is catching a lot of interest from out-of-state investors despite the gloomy mood dominating other parts of the country. This, he says, is a result of continued job growth and stable markets.

“The sale further validates Houston as an attractive investment market,” Rudd agrees. “Buyers can purchase well-located, high-quality buildings at attractive returns well below replacement cost.”

Norfolk Tower is one of 17 Houston-area office buildings managed by McCord. The tower was built in 1982 and boasts an annual leasing rate of $19.50 per sf. A McCord executive declined to discuss the property sale, citing the par-for-the-course confidentiality agreement.

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