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DALLAS-A Trammell Crow fund, via a convoluted “buy to suit” transaction, has acquired two office buildings, totaling 343,000 sf, in separate submarkets for Republic Underwriters Insurance Co., which reportedly is restructuring along with the transition from building owner to tenant. The insurance company has cut a six-month leaseback for its Uptown headquarters and penned a long-term lease for an LBJ Freeway relocation site.

Richard Fletcher, the TCC senior vice president who masterminded the double acquisition and dual leases, wasn’t available for comment prior to publication time. The Republic Underwriters’ deal has been in the market for some time, but it took one deal falling out with another buyer before TCC came up with a plan for the insurance company to sell a 228,000-sf headquarters building at 2727 Turtle Creek Blvd. and lease a 115,000-sf structure at 5525 LBJ Freeway.

Sources tell GlobeSt.com that the Republic’s 5.5-acre Uptown property has brought $70 per sf to $90 per sf, with the land valued at far more than the class B office building, assessed at nearly $14.6 million. In fact, there’s speculation the building will be razed and the site, abutting the Mansion on Turtle Creek, built out with condos. “They might have a tenant, but I’ll put money on it that they will tear it down and redevelop it,” the source says.

The relocation site, also a class B office building, sold for more than $4.2 million. It will undergo a $2.8-million renovation before Republic moves in spring 2005.

The deal-making terms are under lock and key, but relevant players are making some comment. “By far, it was the most complicated transaction that I’ve ever done,” says Paul Stockard, principal with NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell’s Dallas office. He and NAI principal Sanders Thompson represented Republic in the Uptown building sale and the LBJ Freeway lease.

Stockard confirms the first contract fell out for the widely marketed building, a headquarters location since the early 1950s for the 103-year-old insurance company. He says Republic’s long-term commitment for the relocation site was the guarantee that TCC needed to take the double deal to the closing table.

T.D. Briggs with Peloton Real Estate Partners courted Republic for 5525 LBJ Freeway, part of a three-building campus owned by Laurel Properties Associate LP of New York City. Briggs says the building’s location with freeway visibility and easy access plus “ready to go” space were the deal-makers. John Brownlee, an independent Dallas broker, negotiated the lease for the new owner, a fund of the Crow Family Holdings.

The LBJ Freeway office trio was on the market a year ago, with no minimum ask, and then pulled. To close the deal, the building was severed from 5501 LBJ Freeway and 5429 LBJ Freeway, both of which are again being widely marketed. Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc.’s Andrea Peskind holds the listing. Insiders say TCC hasn’t placed a contract for either neighbor…as yet.

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