HOUSTON-Houston has held on to a nine-year employer after besting four other cities for a back-office expansion that comes with the pledge of an additional 150 jobs.

Mariner Healthcare Management of Atlanta has signed a 10-year lease to set up a shared services center in 70,731 sf at Beltway 8 Corporate Center at 5300 W. Sam Houston Parkway in the city’s northwest submarket. Houston beat out Baltimore, Pensacola, FL, Asheville, NC and Buffalo, all of which have Mariner offices for other functions.

Susan Arledge and Van Power, both of Arledge/Power Real Estate in Dallas, represented Mariner in the site search and lease negotiations. Arledge tells GlobeSt.com that Mariner employs about 150 workers in its Houston back-office operation, now located in about 50,000 sf on three floors at 15415 Katy Freeway. A demographics study showed the new address is a centrally located commute for the existing staff.

Houston kept the employer because Mariner is pleased with the staff and felt it was better to expand than rebuild elsewhere, Arledge says. Houston’s number of medically trained workers and workforce availability also worked in the city’s favor. The site selection and lease negotiations took four months.

Starting in March, Mariner will relocate in phases to a 102,500-sf office building, which is the first phase to the 120-acre Beltway 8 Corporate Center, a Panattoni Development office park that could support up to 1.3 million sf at build-out. The Sacramento-based Panattoni used in-house executives Robert Wheless, a partner in Houston, and Jon Napper, managing senior partner in Dallas, to negotiate the lease.

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