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THE WOODLANDS, TX-The Woodlands Office Equities, a subsidiary of Woodlands Operating Co., has unloaded the first of four flex buildings in the Research Forest Drive area. The 70,211-sf , three-year-old building was sold to G.F. Tangent Office Partners II LP.

Doug Nicholson and Martin O’Malley, both of the Houston office of Grubb & Ellis Co., represented the seller. O’Malley tells GlobeSt.com that the buyers are a small group of investors based in the Woodlands.

“The Woodlands has one of the best office markets in Houston and is probably one of the top two or three markets in the country,” says O’Malley. He cites the good leasing velocity and the ability of the area to attract move-ins as reasons for its success.

The Research Forest Drive building was 100% leased at sale time and carried an asking price of nearly $8.8 million. O’Malley says Woodlands Office Equities developed the single-story office buildings with the intention of selling them once they were leased up.

A second property, the 59,956-sf, fully leased Venture Tech IV at 4200 Research Forest Dr., is under contract. Built in 1993, it was advertised at $5.5 million.

The other properties being sold include the nearby two-year-old McLeod building at 9012 New Trails Dr. The 68,868-sf building is 100% leased to McLeod Telecommunications. Its asking price is $8.5 million.

The nine-year-old Venture Tech IV, located at 8665 New Trails Dr., also is on the block for an asking price of $6.4 million. The 63,605-sf structure also is 100% leased.

O’Malley reasons the Woodlands must be one of the nation’s leading office markets since it’s a leader in Houston, which also is performing better than most parts of the country. His reasoning is a good fit with Grubb & Ellis’ third-quarter report, which shows the Woodlands is performing exceptionally well. The area has about two million sf of office product, a low 10% vacancy rate and positive Q3 absorption of 57,419 sf. Year-to-date, the submarket absorbed 205,152 sf, making it second only to the Katy Freeway area. The Woodlands commands the highest suburban class A lease rates, $24.33 per sf, in the Houston region.

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