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HOUSTON-Brokers for the 503,000-sf BriarLake Plaza along the Sam Houston Tollway in Westchase have finalized 111,240 sf of new leases. Before summer ends, Gallagher Healthcare Insurance Services, Zurich American Insurance Co. and Datavox Inc. will be listed on the building directory.

Chip Colvill, president of Colvill Office Properties in Houston, tells GlobeSt.com that the building, now 85% leased, fell on hard times after the dot-com meltdown started in March 2001. The once fully leased office tower quickly lost ground as web firms moved out. Colvill represents the building owner, New York City-based Tishman Speyer Properties.

The “dot-com bomb” has wreaked havoc on the Westchase submarket for many quarters, but Colvill says activity is picking up as more diversified, stable tenant rolls replace the high tech-wonder companies of the past.

BriarLake Plaza is now home to oil companies, insurance firms, banks, accounting firms and stock brokers, says Colvill. There are a few high-tech firms still on BriarLake’s roster, such as Microsoft, an original tenant of the two-year-old building.

The largest space taker in the trio of new deals is Gallagher Healthcare Insurance Services, which signed for 51,720 sf. It will be moving from a Memorial City office complex.

The inbound tenant is part of the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. family of insurance companies. Rob Neblett and Eric Anderson, both of Houston-based Transwestern Commercial Services and Pat Caruso of L.J. Sheridan brokered the deal for Gallagher Healthcare. Greg Flanigan, Gallagher’s COO, said many Westchase properties were reviewed before deciding to relocate the corporate headquarters to BriarLake Plaza.

Zurich American Insurance Co., headquartered in Schaumburg, Germany, is taking 34,406 sf. Joe Priola and Michael Webber, a National Realty Advisors team, were the tenant’s representatives.

Zurich provides commercial property and casualty insurance to the multinational, middle market and small business sectors of the US and Canada. Colvill says the firm is relocating from 2500 City West Blvd.

Datavox Inc. is readying for a move into 25,104 sf. It will exit 5300 Memorial Dr. Joe Gallini and Steve Macnoll of Dallas-based McCaslin Commercial represented Datavox in the lease negotiations. The Houston-based Datavox is a full-service engineering-based telecommunications firm specializing in business communications systems, system integration, computer telephony software development, IP telephony, data networking and customer service.

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