FORT WORTH-In back-to-back transactions, Carter & Burgess Inc. has found takers for 52,848 sf of class A, CBD space brought to market 16 months ago when it subleased 363,250 sf through 2013. One floor swings to an existing headquarters tenant and another is being readied for an insurance company’s HQ relocation and expansion.

Encore Acquisitions has added the 16th floor, or 23,199 sf, to its two-floor block, totaling about 46,000 sf, in Carter Burgess Plaza at 777 Main St. in Downtown Fort Worth. Talks began as a sublease and ended in a direct deal with Crescent Real Estate Equities Co., which also headquarters in the high rise. George Curry, associate in the Fort Worth office for Dallas-based Staubach Co., tells that Carter & Burgess’ sublease for the 16th floor was terminated so Crescent could simultaneously negotiate a renewal and expansion with Encore.

“It was luck,” Curry says of the takedown by the oil and gas exploration company, which renewed two years early on floors 14 and 15 and added the 16th for a grand total of nearly 69,000 sf. “Instead of being out in the market and potentially moving in a couple years, they’re tied up for the next nine years,” he says.

Curry says Encore’s finish-out will begin Oct. 1. Occupancy is planned for Dec. 1. Encore’s team consisted of Frank Taylor, Kyle Poulsen and Leland Prowse with NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell in Fort Worth.

Moving in Oct. 1 is States General Insurance Co., which took 22,604 sf on the 31st floor. The sublease runs through Nov. 30, 2013. The firm will vacate about 16,000 sf in the Oncor Building at 115 W. Seventh St. According to Curry, States General is planning to roll some operations from Chicago and Florida into the beefed-up HQ.

Curry says competition was heated for States General’s nod. “For whatever reason, we were able to pull them over,” he says. “I really don’t know what the reason was. But, I can guarantee we weren’t the cheapest. I guess it was the right time, the right place” Staubach’s George Duncan bargained on behalf of the insurance company.

Both transactions took at least four months to complete. Curry says the deals were signed “pretty close to market,” all factors considered. The sublease space is on the market for $16 per sf while Carter Burgess Plaza’s direct rates range from $13.50 per sf to $21.50 per sf plus electric, according to a local database exchange. The 954,895-sf building is 97% leased.

In late 2000, Carter & Burgess subleased 15 floors in a “take all or nothing” deal with Union Pacific Resources Group Inc. after its acquisition by Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Co. Curry and Staubach senior vice president Todd Burnette were hired in spring 2003 by Carter & Burgess to find tenants for roughly 60,000 sf. The brokers landed a 3,710-sf tenant for a four-year sublease in November 2003 and another one a month later for 3,335 sf for five years. The latest closings take the excess down to 2,150 sf on the 19th floor of the 40-story building.

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