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HOUSTON-In an effort to upgrade its image, Auto Insurance Discounters Inc. has subleased 21,000 sf at 6330 W. Loop South from Conoco Phillips International Inc.

The company has signed a mid-term lease, but hopes to stay in the building for a longer period of time if executives like it, says Louis Rosenthal, leasing director for Jones Lang LaSalle who represented Auto Insurance Discounters Inc. in the transaction. The insurance company will relocate from 7,200 sf at 7350 Harwin Dr., where it has been located for more than 10 years.

“This is quite an expansion for them,” Rosenthal says. “They were looking for a more corporate environment.”

Rosenthal tells GlobeSt.com that while the company was not looking to portray an image of opulence, its former offices were austere. “The new space is nice, but functional,” he says.

Auto Insurance Discounters Inc., eyeing an early 2005 move, will be located on the seventh floor of the 14-story building–the same floor that previously housed the locally based Conoco Phillips’ law department. Chase Bank occupies the first floor of the 260,000-sf, class B building, which is owned by locally based Barnhart Interests.

Conoco Phillips put floors two through 14 back on the market after the oil giants’ merger, which drove a consolidation into 600 N. Dairy Ashford Rd. To date, Conoco Phillips has subleased about 40% of the 28-year-old building. John Pruitt of CB Richard Ellis Inc. is marketing the sublease space for Conoco Phillips.

According to Rosenthal, sublease space is being offered at nearly a 50% discount to market rate of $17.50 per sf. “The economics of this deal were very nice,” he says. Moreover, Auto Insurance Discounters Inc. liked the location of the building, which is easily accessible to employees and clients via Loop 610, US Highway 59 and the West Park Toll Road.

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