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HOUSTON-A 1.1-million-sf, 47-story high-rise in the Houston CBD has latched onto its first tenant–Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld–in a repositioning play to take the property from two tenants to multi-tenant. The Washington, DC-based law firm has signed a four-floor lease for 100,000 sf or one-fifth of the class A space now being emptied by Reliant Resources.

Reliant will complete its phased move to 1000 Main from 1111 Louisiana St. by September, Steve Biegel, senior managing director in Houston for Trione & Gordon LLP, tells GlobeSt.com. In turn, finish-out will be done for a spring 2004 occupancy by the law firm on floors 42 through 45.

Reliant Resources shared the 1.1-million-sf, 47-story CBD tower with building owner, CenterPoint Energy, but the long-term commitment to the new CBD office property started wheels churning to convert the Louisiana Street high-rise into multi-tenant use. Biegel says talks are in the “advance states of negotiations” to fill other empty blocks in the building.

In a press release, Mike Swan, partner in charge of the Houston law office, says the search involved “an extensive yearlong survey of all the downtown buildings that could accommodate our current needs as well as our growth plans. 1111 Louisiana provided us with a superior quality building, attractive space, convenient parking, easy ingress and egress, a health club, and above all afforded us expansion rights that were compatible with our growth plans.” Right now, the firm has 80-plus Houston attorneys in about 70,000 sf at Pennzoil Place, also in the CBD.

Kevin Hodges, partner in the Houston office of Strategis-Cresa, says 1111 Louisiana won the face-off because it met a five-point selection criteria: image, efficiency, expansion, economics and parking. The class A tower, completely renovated in 1996, is a 30-year-old building that looks and acts like new construction, according to Biegel. The overhaul brought changes to the skin as well as the mechanical systems and boosted the quoted rage to $18.50 per sf to $20.50 per sf.

Hodges and Kevin Gardner, also a partner with Strategis-Cresa in Houston, represented the law firm. Biegel and Jay Bonano, senior managing director for Trione & Gordon, negotiated terms for the building owner.

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