HOUSTON-The City of Houston and Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. have finalized the sale of 5.3 acres in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center in the downtown. The city paid $23 million or $100 per sf for the non-income producing land, adjacent to 5.5 acres bought two years ago from the REIT.

The acquisition solidifies the city’s ownership of the “Superblock” in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center and a block immediately to the west. The land tract will become part of a $35-million, 13-acre urban central park, which is expected to be open in 2007. The park design is scheduled to begin in 2005, with construction expected to start in 2006.

Houstonians have called for the park to be named after Mayor Bill White, who led the charge for the urban park. White currently is working to obtain private funding to complete the acquisition and park development. No funds will be derived from property tax revenue.

In a press release issued this morning, Fort Worth-based Crescent reported proceeds were used to pay down its revolving credit facility. Crescent is the largest property owner in downtown Houston with 11.2 million sf of office space. It is in the midst of selling non-core assets. Earlier this year, it placed 11 acres of downtown land in Houston up for sale.

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