DALLAS-A Houston buyer, with a hard focus on Dallas/Fort Worth, has placed a contract for its first North Texas office building, offering $9 million plus for the 145,886-sf Addison Tower in the far north Dallas submarket. With capital for a quick close, the buyer intends to shop the market until it amasses 500,000 sf to one million sf.

But, Griffin Partners’ first order of the day is to tuck away the deed to the Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. asset at 16415 Addison Road, a nine-floor, class B building with a 70% occupancy being marketed by Trammell Crow Co.’s Dallas investment sales team. If all goes smoothly, the closing will take place in a month.

Meanwhile, the Fort Worth-based Crescent is about two weeks out from the closing date of the 33,799-sf, seven-story 5050 Quorum at $68 per sf. Sources say Behringer Harvard Funds of Dallas is going to make the close even though it has the option to extend if it lays down some extra earnest money.

Drew Lewis, Griffin’s co-chairman, tells GlobeSt.com that the earnest money doesn’t go hard for another two weeks, but “we’re confident it will close.” There is still some outstanding information needed to wrap up the 25-day due diligence, he says. When that’s in hand and the earnest money goes hard, the plan is to close the sale 25 days later. Lewis says the firm’s ability to close quickly, with the capital already raised and a track record for crossing the finish line are the reasons it won Crescent’s nod from a rumored dozen buyers. TCC’s John Alvarado, senior vice president of the investment sales group, wouldn’t comment on the pending sale.

Griffin Partners, formed four years ago by seasoned Houston veterans, now owns 11 buildings with two million sf in its homeport and the Texas cities of Bryan, Clear Lake, Corpus Christi, El Paso, San Antonio and Victoria. “We’ve been interested in Dallas/Fort Worth for a long time,” Lewis says. “The timing of the market is now.”

Lewis says the firm’s “comfort zone” is 500,000 sf to one million sf, which is what it aims to amass in North Texas office and industrial properties in “three or four” years, if not sooner. The capital behind the play is coming from a half dozen Houston investors, one pension fund and two equity fund investors–all domestic money.

If the deal closes, the Addison Tower deed will step up the buying focus for Griffin, which manages in house and hires third-party agents for properties outside Houston. “We’ll be right behind it looking at something else,” Lewis vows. “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll be right back at it anyway” to continue the search for Dallas/Fort Worth product.

Addison Tower’s 25-tenant roster has US Specialty Insurance Co. in as the lead with 28,000 sf in a lease that doesn’t expire until 2013, a source tells GlobeSt.com. A handful of tenants occupy more than 10,000 sf and the balance are in offices ranging from 1,500 sf to 5,000 sf.

Crescent bought the 3.8-acre office property in 1992. The asset, abutting the Addison Airport, is assessed at close to $9 million by Dallas Central Appraisal District.

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