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DALLAS-The buzz word around town is “renewal”–office and industrial–as tenants and building owners restructure pacts early before the price goes up or lights go out. From the conference rooms to the lunch table, brokers are talking about deals being reworked with “three and four years” left on the terms.

The early deal-making is a quid pro quo as tenants get space, oftentimes with expansion, at today’s rates and building owners avoid as much as a year’s down time in landing a replacement or the added cost of an extensive makeover to satisfy a newcomer. There are several big hooks waiting to be set around town, including the summer’s most closely watched, the law firm of Baron & Budd, which has yet to put the pen to the paper to renew several hundred thousand sf in the Centrum at 3102 Oak Lawn Ave. in Uptown.

The latest stack of deals has 116,957 sf in office and industrial renewals–and more on the way, say the deal’s senders. “They see the economy getting better and rental rates going up,” Don Dowell, Trizec Properties Inc.’s leasing manager for Bank One Center in the Dallas CBD, tells GlobeSt.com. “The landlords are renewing three and four years out. It’s kind of the last gasp at getting the best deal.” Besides, he says, it’s wise to do because the field is full of “enough hungry landlords to take them out of a building.”

Brian Whittington and Eddie Tillman, tenant reps from Dillon Corporate Services in Dallas, say they are working out savings from $20,000 in Dallas to as much as $500,000 in Atlanta for 32-month early renewal. The duo says the rates aren’t any better than last year, in fact they are quite similar. The bargaining scenario, though, has changed with renewals and extensions for longer terms at flat rates and today’s prices.

Dillon’s tenant reps say it doesn’t matter if it’s a large REIT or a private owner. “They’re doing anything to keep the tenant at all costs,” Whittington says. “It’s a win in both cases. It’s a matter of leveraging the market…There are numerous options across all submarkets.”

Tillman, noting free rent is always part of the play, shaved $3 per sf on the average for class A space at 5800 Granite Parkway in Plano in a lease restructuring for Landstar Homes, which re-upped 10 months early on 5,836 sf with the locally based Granite Properties. And, he says, he really didn’t look around once Granite’s Jim Kirchoff said they’d restructure a new five-year pact. “A lot of the landlords see the value in doing that,” Tillman says.

Tillman took Science Applications International Corp. to the table 14 months early, walking away with a five-year lease for the six-year-old 7,861-sf office at 555 Republic Dr. in Plano. The savings, he says, worked out to “a couple dollars a foot.” Again, there was little to no shopping the market by him and Dillon’s Greg Langston. Rick Rensi with CB Richard Ellis Inc. handled talks for the building owner, Brookview Partners of Dallas.

Whittington nailed a 6,735-sf renewal in sync with an expiration for Headstrong, a tech company that’s now staying for another five years in the class A One Lincoln Centre in Dallas. “We got a market deal, but we did get some concessions,” he says, adding free rent came without question. Lincoln Property Co. had in-house exec, Don Bingamin, doing its negotiating.

In exchange for a 1,500-sf expansion, Whittington got a rent abatement and discounted rate for David W. Tice & Associates Inc., a securities firm, which signed a 9,265-sf, five-year lease for its 10-year address. Minimal tenant improvements for “a preferred client” drove a “below-market deal with rental concessions,” Whittington confides about a renewal that beat the deadline by just a few months. Building owner Beer Wells Real Estate of Dallas had in-house broker, Denise Rachael, negotiate the pact.

Ten-year tenant, the Texas State Comptroller’s Office, stayed put in 8,520 sf at One Metro Square at 2655 Villa Creek Dr. in North Dallas. Negotiations between Kym Nishimura with Hall Financial Group and Aaron Emerson of Scribcor Texas LLC of Austin produced a 10-year lease for the same amount of space to keep the 93,000-sf building at 70% occupancy.

The Capital Chart Room Holdings renewed 2,221 sf at Governor’s Row at 2001-2021 E. Lamar Blvd. in Arlington. Andrew Taguwa of the Staubach Co. was the tenant’s rep and Beaux Riley of SMC Real Estate Services in Arlington represented the limited partnership owner from Colleyville.

SCM’s president, Gary Walker, got TruForm Optics to hold firm to 5,175 sf in the Signet Building at 400 S. Industrial Blvd. in Euless. The building’s owned by Huffhines Investments LP of Arlington.

The industrial side of the renewal stack totaled 71,380 sf. Harbison-Walker Refractories Co., without hardly any comparison shopping, re-upped 14,532 sf for the long term at a five-year location at 4585 Mint Way in Dallas. The distributor of fire bricks’ broker was Craig Jones with the locally based Robert Lynn Co., who says the location and layout was a good fit so the search was minimal. Lincoln’s Gil Stroube negotiated for the owner.

The Holt Cos., which is has several more industrial renewals to release, closed four deals. Holt’s Jim Brice filed away a 22,000-sf renewal for John S. Dull at 1536 Hutton Dr.; John Gorman inked a 20,160-sf pact for Rocore Southwest at 4020 La Reunion Parkway; and Newton Hopkins finalized 10,000 sf for N. Glantz & Son at 3010 Quebec St. and 4,688 sf for Texas Spectrum Electronics at 9110 Autobahn Dr., both in Dallas.

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