HOUSTON-A packet of six leases, with three renewals, has closed off 505,567 sf in the 3.3-million-sf Houston Center complex in the CBD, where office vacancy is 18.8%. Several tenants were lured by the East End’s redevelopment, a mix of sports facilities, entertainment, retail and residential.

Houston Center’s owner, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. of Fort Worth, has latched onto a 95% occupancy with the spate of deals negotiated by in-house broker Debbie Wilson.

The largest signing is a 366,517-sf headquarters renewal by Lyondell Chemical Co. at 1 Houston Center, where the quoted rate is $21 per sf. A tenant since 1986, Lyondell signed another long-term lease.

The tenant’s rep, Tim Relyea of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.’s Houston office tells GlobeSt.com that all available space was surveyed inside and outside the CBD and a handful of sites toured in the decision-making process. Relyea says the final analysis showed a downtown location was the most efficient. And, he adds, the firm’s leaders “have always liked the management and the people (Crescent).”

The leasing at 1 Houston Center also snagged a new name for the directory: Haynes & Boone, a Dallas-based law firm that will relocate a 110-employee Houston office from Wells Fargo Plaza at 1000 Louisiana into 92,703 sf. The move will take place in June 2004, says Steve Burkett in Staubach Co.’s Houston office. He and Staubach’s Ed Prejean and David Bale represented the law firm.

Burkett says the firm will occupy about the same size office, but gets contiguous floors. He says the dealmakers were the economics of the long-term contract and the East End location.

A second law firm, Adams & Reese, renewed a 24,301-sf lease and added 11,304 sf at 1 Houston Center in yet another long-term signing. The new space will be ready to occupy by year’s end.

Vince Gyorgy and Brad Marnitz, both with NAI Partners Commercial in Houston, represented the law firm, a seven-year tenant with about 30 attorneys. Marnitz says the firm could practically double its size with the extra space. He confides three other buildings were in the running, but again the economics and the East End amenities scored the win.

A 14,588-sf, long-term renewal at 1 Houston Center was inked by the actuarial firm of Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby Inc. Represented by Marti Nemer with Jones Lang LaSalle’s Houston team, the firm is marking its 13th year in the building.

At 5 Houston Center where the quoted rate is $30 per sf, Rusty Hardin & Associates will move into 13,569 sf from 1201 Louisiana. Trey Strake with C&W’s Houston office negotiated a long-term lease for the law firm.

And 4 Houston Center won the Aeros Hockey Club LLC for a 6,886-sf office in a move in-town from the suburbs. Mary Caldwell of Houston’s Caldwell Watson Real Estate Group, the hockey club’s broker, negotiated a short-term lease. The building’s quoted rate is $19 per sf.

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