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WESTLAKE, TX-In a record-breaking agreement, First American Real Estate Information Services Inc. will take over 615,000 sf of class A space in Solana after nearly two years of working the market to expand its Dallas/Fort Worth hub. The hard-fought win comes with a 10-year term.

Maguire Partners’ one-time partner, IBM Corp., once Solana’s sole occupant, will be exiting the last of its space–240,000 sf–to make the deal happen, Thomas Allen, the Los Angeles-based owner’s Texas partner, tells GlobeSt.com. The exit enables Maguire to connect a quartet of five-story office buildings, totaling 480,000 sf, in an out-of-the-box plan that convinced First American’s decisionmakers to move to the Campus Circle complex. First American also leased 75,000 sf of a 104,000-sf structure and a 60,000-sf freestanding data center to take its total to more than half of the 1.1-million-sf Westlake portion of the 2.5-million-sf Solana along Texas 114. The transaction is considered the largest takedown of existing space in Dallas/Fort Worth in a decade.

First American, a subsidiary of California-based First American Corp., will start phased-in moves in early 2006 and wrap up in September. The firm will combine four Dallas-area offices and get additional space with the consolidation, says Michael Silliman, Maguire’s leasing director. The move-outs are a mix of lease expirations and early retreats, he adds.

As would be expected, the First American deal was “one of the most sought after in a long time,” Allen says. “There have been some very large build-to-suits signed, but not leases of existing space. You’ve got to go back many years to beat this deal.” He says he started “gaining traction at the first of the year,” but wasn’t about to label it as done until the paper was signed late last week, closing out a five-week final round to dock the deal.

Though it was his idea to link the buildings, Allen credits Richard Keating, formerly with HKS Inc. Architecture and now with Keating/Khang Architects in Dallas, with coming up with the dealmaking design that got the nod. The buildings, now linked by covered walkways, will be joined on floors two through five with a glass-enclosed sky bridge at a cost that’s being kept under wraps. “It was a deal that made sense for everyone,” Allen says. If the going rate is any indicator, space in the award-winning park is quoted at $24 per sf plus electric.

“It will change the face of the Westlake campus,” Silliman says. Dallas-based Beck Construction Co. will begin work in the coming weeks. The locally based HKS is the architect of record and will oversee interior renovations to buildings at 1, 2, 4 and 5 Campus Circle; 7 Campus Circle, which is earmarked for executive offices, dining room and conference areas; and 8 Campus Circle, ticketed for the data center.

The deal requires several tenant moves, but IBM is the largest one to be affected. Its Solana team will be rolled into existing locations in the region. “We were working with IBM to get a piece for them, but it just didn’t work out,” Allen explains. “IBM has been a great tenant and great partners.” Part of the First American block are two buildings emptied in 2003 when Verizon Wireless moved to a build-to-suit. The lease pushes Solana’s occupancy to 94%, according to Allen.

“This is a deal that took a lot of really smart people on both sides of the table,” Silliman says. “It’s thinking big and thinking beyond what you’ve got on the ground.”

Sam Hocker and Lee Wagner with Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Dallas team ran the show for the Fortune 500 company, which employs 2,300 in the metroplex. Barry Sando, First American’s president, says the “ample room for future growth” in the 900-acre corporate park helped to sway the decision as did amenities and location. Maguire has enough land to add two million sf of low-rise product to the park, which has an in-house fleet of shuttle buses running every 15 minutes between the health club, daycare, restaurants, hotel and office buildings and is laced with two miles of hiking and biking trails.

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