DALLAS-One of Dallas’ most talked about leases, Baron & Budd, has had all the “i’s” dotted and the “t’s” crossed after a year of negotiations and speculation that the 13-year tenant might exit the Centrum. The 136,691-sf lease of class A space has gone down as a seven-year renewal.

“It’s a law firm and they had a lot of alternatives. We were really fortunate to keep them in Uptown,” Kim Brooks, senior vice president for Transwestern Commercial Services’ Dallas office, tells GlobeSt.com. “When you have a large tenant like that, everyone’s calling them.” And call they did as every titleholder to class A and class AA space with available floors tried to scoop the tenant from the 3102 Oak Lawn Ave. address.

The firm’s brokers Carl Ewert and Karra Guess with Dallas-based Staubach Co. started working the market last summer. The longer it lingered, the more rumors flew. By February, the Transwestern team, which includes vice president Scott Walker, eliminated most of the competition and turned into the final stretch in June. “I really felt like they were focused on our building for the last three months,” Brooks says. The final stretch centered on fine-tuning contract language, she says.

The end result is an early renewal, a 24,000-sf giveback at the end of 2006 and a cosmetic-only finish-out that isn’t nearly as costly as the rumored price tag or the $3-million estimated cost to move and retool new law firm space. The deal takes effect today.

“We feel like we did a market deal,” Walker says. “The landlord and tenant are both happy with the deal.” The office space is on the market for $23 per sf plus electric.

Baron & Budd, which started out with 30,000 sf in 1991, now occupies the upper four floors and part of floors 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The rightsizing plan calls for space on 5, 6 and 7 to go back to the owner at the 2006 close when some storage on site will be replaced with an off-site location, the team explains.

The 11-story Centrum has 324,000 sf of office and 43,000 sf of retail space. Baron & Budd’s renewal keeps occupancy at 78%, but there are deals in the pipeline that could push it as high as 90%, according to the Transwestern team. The bulk of the vacancy is a 55,000-sf health club, emptied about a year ago. There are prospects, but no takers to date, Walker says.

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