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IRVING, TX-VHA Inc., a longtime tenant of the Las Colinas Urban Center, has re-upped and expanded, cutting deals for about 324,000 sf of class A space in two abutting buildings and easing some of the submarket tensions from a 27.1% vacancy.

“It’s a great shot in the arm for the Las Colinas Urban Center, which it needed right now,” Tony Click, principal of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co., tells VHA did shop the market, he adds, but expansion options that were laid on the table by Trammell Crow and Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. kept the tenant in place and drove an upfront expansion of 25,000 sf for one of the building owners. In a rare show for the Texas market, Trammell Crow has released the value of its share of the deal: $39 million over a 10-year term.

Trammell Crow locked in the headquarters tenant to a 207,006-sf renewal with a first option on 50,000 sf of Xerox-occupied space at VHA Place, a 314,216-sf, 13-story building at 220 E. Las Colinas Blvd. At Crescent’s 125 John Carpenter Freeway, VHA renewed 94,000 sf and took an extra 25,000 sf in a 12-year commitment for its subsidiary Novation.

VHA has had its headquarters in the Aetna Life-owned building since 1994. The lease wasn’t up until May 2004, but that wasn’t the case next door, where Crescent had been talking for two years to hold onto the premier tenant whose contract expires this month. Click says the decision was made to simultaneously negotiate so VHA could weigh all options, including a consolidation that could have put everything under one roof by way of a corporate campus project. The expansion options definitely were key to keeping the Urban Center tenant in its canal-front offices.

Click and Gardner Peavy, Trammell Crow vice president, represented Aetna Life Insurance Co. Larry Toon and Paul Whitman, both of Dallas-based Staubach Co., handled the tenant’s side of the negotiations. Crescent used in-house vice president of leasing, Michael Lewis, to bargain its terms at the now 90%-occupied 125 John Carpenter Freeway, still known in brokerage circles as the Caltex Building. The end result, says Lewis, was “a win-win transaction.” VHA has been a Crescent tenant for four years.

Click says the building owners got “good market deals” even though the market was deteriorating as the parties were talking. “Timing was everything and it’s a great deal to get done before the quarter ends,” he says.

VHA is a nationwide cooperative of 2,200 community-owned, health-care organizations and their affiliated physicians, comprising one-fourth of the US community-owned hospitals. Its members include Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System, BJC Health System in St. Louis and the Mayo Foundation in Minnesota.

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