HOUSTON-The New York City owner of a Houston CBD high-rise has hired a Lincoln Property Co. leasing team to fill a 570,000-sf hole set to open in May 2005 when ChevronTexaco shifts downtown addresses to 1500 Louisiana St.

Chuck Kemp, vice president in Houston for ING Clarion Realty Services, tells GlobeSt.com that Lincoln was one of five brokerage firms in the running for the 1.2-million-sf, class A assignment. Until now, Clarion had an in-house team in place at the 53-story Heritage Plaza at 1111 Bagby St. The Dallas-based Lincoln assigned Charlie Giammalva and Brian McMackin in the Houston office to find and sign tenants for the upper 20 floors.

“Lincoln’s assignment is to reintroduce Heritage Plaza to the market, particularly to large users,” Kemp says in a press release. “Companies seeking a total of 2.3 million sf are now in the downtown market.” And some already have been knocking on Heritage Plaza’s door, according to Kemp.

Ideally, a single-tenant replacement will surface–at least that’s the hope. But, the more likely scenario is the premier space will be absorbed by smaller tenants. Kemp says the leasing effort won’t begin in earnest until closer to ChevronTexaco’s move-out date, which is coming in sync with a lease expiration after a 15-year run as Heritage Plaza’s lead tenant.

Meanwhile, the Lincoln team’s immediate focus is a 150,000-sf vacancy. Kemp says talks have begun to fill about 75% of the open area. As a result, he says ChevronTexaco’s contiguous floors present “a timely opportunity” for Clarion and would-be tenants. Today’s quoted rate ranges from $18 per sf to $22 per sf.

Heritage Plaza is undergoing a $3-million renovation in the lobby and common areas plus upgrades to the fire alarm and EMS system. Additional capital has been earmarked for a 1,300-space parking garage, which will go up on 1.8 acres at the corner of Allen Parkway and Bagby Street. That project, though, is still on the drawing boards.

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