PLANO, TX-It’s not the everyday garden-variety deal, says the broker who helped structure a complicated 58,000-sf lease assignment for class A office space in a suburban park. The deal’s muscle is that a 118,000-sf building stays fully occupied with owner and lender agreeing to altered contracts.

The Billingsley Co. and its lender, Jefferson Pilot Financial of Greensboro, NC, agreed to let Metromedia Restaurant Group of Dallas get out from under $5 million of a $7-million lease obligation by assigning the second floor at 6500 International Parkway to Tyler Technologies Inc. after the inbound tenant got an upfront five-year extension to seal a 10-year deal that doesn’t bump up until after the March 31, 2008, expiration of the “assigned space,” Greg Langston, principal of Dillon Corporate Services in Dallas, tells The $2-million balance was then rolled to Metromedia’s 33,000-sf, first-floor lease with an amendment that anted up the per sf rent from $21 to $26, Langston says.

In agreeing to both leases, Billingsley has eliminated a competitor with 112,000 sf of the park’s space up for sublease at below-market rates. Tyler Technologies gets to occupy the space at $18 per sf plus electric plus inherits $1 million in furniture. The “creative spin” hinged on the lease assignment carrying the $18 per sf rent through Metromedia’s 2008 lease expiration, Langston explains. The issue for Metromedia was “if you could wipe away $5 million of expenses, would you do it? Absolutely,” Langston says of the motivation to assume a higher per sf rate on its remaining space.

Langston says the “traditional” sublease spun to a lease assignment because Tyler Technologies wanted to negotiate a five-year extension and preferred to deal directly with Billingsley, which has its headquarters in the park, rather than be tied to a sub-landlord whose financial condition isn’t as rosy as it once was.

Metromedia moved into International Business Park in 1998 at a high point in its history. When the economy cratered, the restaurant group slashed its head count from 400 to the present 100. Langston says the best way to “help fix the pain” was to bring the entire office space to the sublease market–either in blocks of 10,000 sf or the entire chunk–to keep the listing as flexible as possible since it was going head-to-head with 3.5 million sf of vacancy in Plano and Far North Dallas. The “perfect storm” was to find a taker for roughly 60,000 sf so Metromedia could hold onto its first-floor offices and test kitchen yet reduce the real estate burden, he explains. Another 20,000 sf is up for grabs in a neighboring building.

Langston says it’s the first time he’s crafted such a deal and the same is true for the other veterans involved in the negotiations. Metromedia’s side also included Terry Quinn, also a principal in Dillon Corporate Services, a Cresa Partners affiliate in Dallas and Birmingham, AL.; Eddie Tillman, vice president; and Suzan Davidson, director of project management. Jeff Howle of Parker Equities in Dallas bargained for Tyler Technologies. Calvin Hull, Billingsley’s top leasing exec, and Barbara Houlihan, represented the building owner’s interest.

Metromedia Restaurant Group is one of the world’s leading multi-concept owners, with nearly 1,000 dining locations under its brands of Bennigans, Steak and Ale, Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse. The Dallas-based Tyler Technologies is a software developer of information management for local governments, with more than 6,000 clients in 41 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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