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PORTLAND-Fresh off buying itself back from the company that bought its parent company out of bankruptcy, W&H Pacific has agreed to a lease deal that will move the company from Nimbus Corporate Center to the third floor of Peterkort Centre II, a new six-story office building at the confluence of U.S. Route 26 and State Route 217 that cost $14 million to construct and is currently 23% leased.

The Bothell, Wash.-based infrastructure consulting and design firm sold itself to publicly traded IT Group Inc. of Monroeville, Pa., in May 2000 for $15 million. On the strength of its new acquisition, IT then pre-leased 50,700 sf at the 137,881-sf Peterkort Centre II, one 24,000-sf floor for W&H Pacific’s Portland offices and another for another acquisition, Emcon, which also leases space at Nimbus but will no longer be moving to Peterkort Centre II.

By January 2002, IT Group’s acquisitions helped build up approximately $1 billion in debt that the company couldn’t keep up with, forcing it to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court. That negated the lease deal, but not W&H’s want to be in the building, which was developed by the Peterkort family, one of the firm’s largest clients.

The Shaw Group Inc. of Baton Rouge, La. purchased the company’s assets, including W&H and Emcon, this past May. That’s when Hal Keever, director of land development for W&H, says he and a handful of other senior managers including president and CEO William Jabs immediately began negotiating with The Shaw Group to buy the company back.

That deal was sealed earlier this week, allowing W&H to follow through on its commitment to the Peterkorts. The term and negotiated lease rate were not immediately available. The annual full-service asking rate for the building is $27 per sf, including a $20 per sf tenant improvement allowance. But the weighted average class A rental rate for the submarket is is closer to $23.50 per sf, and most lease deals these days are starting out below that rate. Jeff Falconer and Mike Nye of Trammell Crow represented the Peterkorts in lease negotiations.

“We’re doing a lot of work in that area, the access is excellent and the Peterkorts are one of our biggest clients,” Keever tells GlobeSt.com. The move is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend, says Keever, because everybody’s on holiday and not generating much revenue anyway. Keever says W&H Pacific, a 225-employee firm, expects to generate about $31 million in revenue over the next 12 months, which is just a few million off what it was doing before it sold to IT Group.

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