DALLAS-Bank One Center has just been handed the second-largest office lease to close this year in the Dallas CBD. It’s also one of the more complex transactions to be worked out, say brokers who have spent the last six months locked in talks for 120,000 sf to be occupied in three take-downs.

Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. has signed a 12-year lease for two of its subsidiaries, now occupying offices at Chase Tower, Thanksgiving Tower and Lincoln Plaza. Bank One Center was one of three office buildings on a short list that included at least one of the current addresses for Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Marsh USA.

The class A lease is the largest to close since the first quarter when TXU inked a 147,710-sf pact for Lincoln Plaza. Of course, it could be a sign of things to come since another downtown office building is close to filling three full floors in a long-term lease, at least that’s the talk around town.

To help sell the deal, the Crescent-Trizec team put the prospective tenants before the Downtown Partnership to learn first-hand about the Main Street revitalization project. The final decision, says Kirby White of Crescent Real Estate Equities Co., is a testament for Main Street’s appeal and promise.

Finish-out starts in January 2003, with the first 40,000-sf take-down coming in June. First to occupy will be Mercer Human Resources. The balance of the office space will be taken over in two move-ins through 2007.

“It was a challenge just to find the amount of space and in a fashion configured that was acceptable to them,” White explains to GlobeSt.com. The lease pushes occupancy to 88% for the 1.5-million-sf, 60-story landmark that’s considered one of the city’s most prestigious addresses.

Thom Ridnour, regional vice president in Dallas for New York City-based Trizec Properties Inc., says the big sell was the building. “There’s not a better built building in the entire Southwest,” he says. Ridnour could be considered a bit partial since Trizec and Crescent own the property in a 50-50 split via the Main Street Partners Funding LP.

Still, those involved in the deal are saying the same thing–building quality, location and flexibility for occupancy were key to the final decision. The deal-making terms are not being made public, but it’s safe to say the tenant was in the driver’s seat given today’s market, lease length and stiff competition for large class A users.

Ridnour emphasizes the take-downs coincide with lease expirations at the addresses to be vacated and within Bank One Center. Mercer and Marsh were represented by Clifford R. Fischer, Ted Uzelac and Jim Graham, all from the high-powered, low-profile Fischer & Co. of Dallas. The tenants’ team also included Allen Glass of Mercer and Dana Lynch and Sean O’Donoghue, both of Marsh. The Bank One Center team consisted of White and Trizec’s Don Dowell.

The Mercer Human Resource Consulting team is part of a network of 13,500 employees who serve clients in 40 countries. The Marsh USA office is one of 400 with 36,000 employees who have clients in more than 100 countries.

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