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HOUSTON-In a face-off with four other brokerage houses, Transwestern Commercial Services has scored its largest leasing assignment this year, 432,981 sf of class A office space in the Galleria and Greenspoint submarkets.

The Chicago-based owner, CMD Realty Inc., replaced CB Richard Ellis Inc. after 2.5 years of standing guard over 1700 W. Loop South and Northpoint Central, each 60% occupied. CBRE had no comment about the assignment loss.

Taking the reins for Transwestern will be Michelle Wogan, a senior vice president hired in March and one-time leasing broker for the properties, and Clint Bawcom, leasing agent. The 1700 W. Loop South is a 15-story, 253,135-sf office building with a 100,000-sf empty block of contiguous space in the Galleria. At 2 Northpoint Central in Greenspoint, there is 65,000 sf dark in the nine-story, 179,756-sf building. CMD Realty acquired the buildings in 1999.

Wogan tells GlobeSt.com that the team has a few deals for “several thousand square feet” in the pipeline for Northpoint Central and also has fielded “some interest” from large users for 1700 W. Loop South. Given the city’s office market dynamics, she says it most likely will be 18 months to two years before the office buildings reach 100% occupancy. She’s counting on both buildings’ easy freeway access to draw tenants to the fold along with CMD’s practice of paying 100% of the commission up front.

The 1700 W. Loop South is positioned just outside Loop 610, but inside the bounds of one of the city’s softest office submarkets. As a result, the office space is on the market at a $16.50 per sf to $19 per sf, gross annual rate. The building is struggling to overcome last year’s 80,000-sf move-out by Gulf Interstate Engineering. As for the rest of the roster, Wogan says there are “no large rollovers anytime soon” for the other 22 tenants.

At Northpoint Central, the 40% vacancy arose from a double loss: NatCom, a Rockford, IL voice and data provider that was bought out and left the lease run out on 17,000 sf, and Overland Park, KS-headquartered Sprint Corp.’s emptying of 16,000 sf in a consolidation move. Wogan says the roster’s 14-tenant balance has “no near term roll.” The space is on the market at an $18 per sf to $19 per sf gross annual rate.

The win pushes Transwestern’s leasing and management portfolio to 125 buildings and more than 25 million sf in Houston. “We are confident that the team of CMD and Transwestern will produce strong results,” Chip Clarke, president of Transwestern’s Southwest region, says in a press release.

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