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HOUSTON-In a double win for the Houston CBD, Kellogg Brown & Root is firmly planted in 740,000 sf of class A space, renewing leases in the three-million-sf Cullen Center. The double signing scuttles a corporate campus plan for the long term.

For years, the engineering and construction firm talked about building a campus at Bellaire Boulevard and Beltway 8 in the southwest submarket. The Halliburton subsidiary has the plan on a video display in the lobby of KBR Tower, its headquarters since the building opened 29 years ago and a property that it half owns along with Chicago-based Trizec Properties Inc.

Paul Layne, Trizec’s senior vice president in Houston for western regional operations, tells GlobeSt.com that the corporate campus idea lost steam as the market softened. KBR executives began to rethink the plan and realized they wanted to stay downtown. Layne says the Trizec team swooped in “very quickly to consummate a transaction.”

Layne, also chairman of the board for the Downtown Management District, believes the CBD’s rejuvenation and 50% of the KBR staff’s reliance on mass transit were the decision makers. The renewals, Layne stresses, are “a shot in the arm for downtown.” The 524,000-sf KBR Tower lease carries a 15-year term and 500 Jefferson St.’s pact, 216,000 sf, runs for 10 years.

Trizec and KBR each have a 50% stake in the more than one-million-sf, 40-story tower at 601 Jefferson St. Trizec owns the balance of Cullen Center, a 94%-occupied, four-building complex. Its 500 Jefferson St. building is a 20-story, 390,000-sf design.

Layne, who negotiated the 740,000-sf leases, says he is working hard, as are others, to keep and attract tenants to the downtown. He says there are a number of outside users now eyeing the large chunks of available CBD space which, if signed, are sure to bring the return of a balanced market. Dan Bellow, president of the Houston office for Dallas-based Staubach Co. represented KBR in the lease negotiations.

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