HOUSTON-Granite Properties has taken title to the 466,025-sf One Westchase Center, a class A office building at 10777 Westheimer Rd. from Dallas-based Prentiss Properties. Sources say the 12-story office building has sold for $70 million.

The building’s easy access to the Westpark Tollroad and the Beltway, along with an 82% occupancy, add to the value of a property slated for renovation. “Most of our properties in the Westchase market have a 90% occupancy,” Scott Martin, the Dallas-based Granite’s managing director in Houston, tells GlobeSt.com. “This is a large class A building in a fast growing corridor of Houston. Since this is our fourth building in the Westchase market, obviously we believe in it.”

Martin says the renovation plan is still being discussed. “We will have to step back and take a look at the lobby and the common corridors,” he says, “and then work to give it a fresh new look.”

Representatives from Prentiss declined to comment on the sale of a recognized landmark in the heart of the Westchase business district. Granite intends to retain the name of the high-profile building, encased in light blue reflective glass with a full-height atrium lobby and cantilevered balconies.

Although the property is in a prosperous and growing area, some dispute its class A rating. “This is a hot building, but to say it is a class A building might be an assumption,” says Martin O’Malley, senior vice president for Colliers International’s local office. “The best comp prices in this area in the last year have a great range, some as low as $70 a sf.” In comparison, the 224,456-sf Woodland Park Plaza at 11490 Westheimer Rd., built in 1982, sold for $107 per sf in April, with just a few tenants in place. Several blocks west of Westchase, the 1255 Enclave Parkway brought $167 per sf in the second quarter. The Briarlake Plaza at Briarforest and Beltway 8 sold for $150 per sf last year and it had higher rents and a higher occupancy, according to O’Malley.

One Westchase Center, positioned on 5.3 acres, is assessed at $41 million by Harris County. Prentiss Properties bought the holding, which includes a parking garage, in June 1998.

The acquisition keeps Granite on track to accumulate as much as $100 million of bought and developed properties in greater Houston by 2005. To date, the Houston office and industrial portfolio has nearly 3.6 million sf, with 1.3 million sf in Westchase.

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