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HOUSTON-After spending more than two decades on the city’s south side, Morris Architects Inc. has gamed out a move into 27,500 sf, split between buildings in the Downtown and the west side.

The firm’s execs have signed a five-year lease for 5,900 sf with Memorial City Towers, Ltd. of Houston for 820 Gessner Rd.; and a 10-year lease with locally based FC Tower Property Partners LP for 22,000 sf in First City Tower at 1001 Fannin St., which is represented by CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Houston office. The tenant did its own negotiating while Memorial City Towers Ltd. also used an in-house representative to work out the deal.

With finish-out under way in both locations, the architectural firm is planning to move by year’s end from its long-time location at 3355 W. Alabama St. While lease and build-out costs weren’t available for the respective projects, Chris Hudson, president and CEO of Morris Architects, tells GlobeSt.com that similar jobs can run from $20 per sf to $45 per sf, depending on the space’s overall condition. As for the class A space, recent reports peg the average Downtown rent at $21.87 per sf and the Energy Corridor rate at $21.33 per sf.

“We’d been looking for an alternate location for several years that would bring more amenities and entertainment,” Hudson says. The company already had a relationship with First City Tower because of a renovation job. “They made us a good deal that brought us closer to Downtown with a whole new look and whole new place,” he says.

Hudson says the west side location was picked because it’s in the same building as one of its clients, MetroNational Corp. “They have upcoming work, somewhere in the area of $600 million to $700 million,” he says, adding the firm’s in line for a portion of the work. In addition to putting a team next to the local developer, he continues, “this location gives us access to the Energy Corridor and a lot of growth in that part of Houston.”

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