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HOUSTON-Pride International Inc. has signed a 10-year, direct lease for 83,000 sf of headquarters space in San Felipe Plaza, where it previously occupied 58,000 sf in several subleases and 11,000 sf on a direct basis. The drilling company’s subleases are set to expire.

“Pride wanted to stay in a class A building and wanted contiguous space,” says Charles G. Fertitta Jr., senior vice president of the locally based Moody Rambin Interests Inc. “They are growing and wanted to reformulate their space.” He represented Pride International in the negotiations while Chicago-based Equity Office Properties had managing director of leasing, Steve Crawford, structure its terms for the 21-year-old high-rise at 5857 San Felipe St. in the Galleria.

Fertitta tells that the tenant’s team evaluated several options for the corporate headquarters over a six-month period. The company decided to stay put in the 959,000-sf San Felipe Plaza because it offered the “best deal” based on economics, tenant improvement package, floor plates and building configuration, according to Fertitta.

Pride International will move into the extra room in September. With the expansion, it now occupies the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 37th floors of the 45-story tower. The tower’s quoted rent is $21 per sf. The lease raise occupancy to 93%, says Pete Johnston, senior vice president of EOP’s Houston region, who points out the marketwide vacancy rate is considerably higher that San Felipe Plaza’s. According to CB Richard Ellis, the 32-million-sf submarket’s average occupancy hovers 80%.

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