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Jackie Day is editorial director of Real Estate Media’s Newsletter Division.

HOUSTON-Less than eight months after changing hands, Briar Forest Crossing marked a milestone in its road to recovery from a one-time low of 32% occupancy. The Westchase building has been pushed to practically 90% with back-to-back transactions totaling 10,670 sf.

In taking space at 1300 W. Sam Houston Parkway, the tenants signed leases for close to the building’s going rate of $19 per sf to $19.25 per sf, including “substantial” tenant improvement allowances, according to Mark Preston, the locally based broker at Moody Rambin Interests who arranged both transactions on behalf of the local building owner, Texas Equity Partners.

HOAR Construction, a local homebuilder, took 5,817 sf. The homebuilder, whose lease length is being kept under wraps, is relocating from 12000 Westheimer. AOA Geophysics, a local engineering firm, signed for 4,853 sf over a five-year term, moving from 11200 Westheimer.

Preston tells GlobeSt.com that the engineering firm capped a six-month search for new headquarters. The firm went from occupying space on two floors to one floor at Briar Forest. “They are getting larger and needed more room,” he says. HOAR also took more space than it had previously occupied and upgraded to “a more prestigious look,” he adds. “With their budget allowances they were able to create a very nice space.”

Briar Forest was built in the 1960s and occupied solely by Raytheon Corp. for many years. Three years ago, the 93,828-sf four-story building, Briar Forest Crossing, underwent a $4-million renovation, getting a new exterior and lobby to bring it closer to its class A, next-door neighbor, Briarwood Plaza. “It became a much more attractive building,” Preston says, citing leverage from a location near Beltway 8.

At the beginning of the year, the building was sold to Texas Equity, which has been focused on bringing back occupancy from a low point of 32%. “All this leasing activity has coincided with them coming in and owning it,” Preston says. “The market got active and we signed a lot of deals.” According to a previous GlobeSt.com article, the building was 46% leased when investors Kirk Pfeffer and Ernest D. Cockrell II took over from State Farm Insurance Co. of Bloomington, IL.

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