HOUSTON-Chasing a low interest rate, Houston-based Hines and Prime Asset Management Inc. have secured a permanent loan for more than $100 million from Bank of America Corp. for the 700,000-sf Calpine Center in the Houston CBD.

The new vehicle replaces a JPMorgan Chase-funded construction loan with a spring 2005 maturity, Carleton Riser, Hines’ senior project manager, tells GlobeSt.com. The New York City-based JPMorgan package had extension options, but Hines elected to seek permanent financing earlier than usual due to the low interest rates now prevailing in the capital markets, Riser explains.

Riser says the loan took about 90 days to close. The deal was shown to a large group of lenders and the field narrowed to four, Riser says. The Charlotte, NC-based Bank of America cleared a 10-year loan with a 30-year amortization. The interest rate and loan-to-value ratio are not being released for the 33-story tower at 717 Texas Ave., but Riser did say the loan is moderately leveraged, in keeping with Hines’ debt capitalization strategies of the past. Tom Melody, executive managing director with Houston-based LJ Melody & Co., arranged the financing.

The building’s lead tenants are Calpine Corp., Burlington Resources and Jones, Day & Pogue. Calpine has a 10-year lease for 300,000 sf. The energy firm has put the 29th floor, with 27,764 sf, on the sublease market. Burlington Resources, also holding a 10-year lease, occupies 250,000 sf while the law firm of Jones, Day & Pogue is committed to 54,600 sf for the next decade, says Riser.

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