AUSTIN-In keeping with its goal to acquire up to $150 million in assets throughout Texas, Equastone Real Estate Investment Advisors has acquired its second property in less than three months from an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. Sources speculate 150,000-sf Centennial Towers has traded for $13 million to $15 million.

“This is a niche market that’s highly accessible and in an area that’s sustained rental rates,” says Clint Harrington, Equastone’s executive vice president of the Texas region. “There isn’t a lot of competitive supply in the direct submarket and there’s a high barrier of entry for new supply.” The five-story office building, constructed in 1985 at 505 E. Huntland Ave., is assessed at $11.6 million by Travis Central Appraisal District.

Harrington tells that some renovations are planned for the class B building, but a firm budget hasn’t been established. “We’ll be renovating the lobbies and elevators and trying to make some of the vacancies more attractive for lease,” he adds.

The building is 80% occupied. Harrington says the roll is evenly spread out during the next three to four years, with no major expirations coming due in the near future.

The transaction represents the San Diego-based Equastone’s 10th Texas acquisition since October 2005. The investment group recently acquired a 436,190-sf portfolio of office and flex properties in Austin, also from the New York City-based Morgan Stanley. Harrington says additional properties are under contract in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, some of which could be closing within 30 days.

John Alvarado, senior vice president for Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. and Derek Land with Stream Realty Partners LP’s Austin office represented Morgan Stanley. Stream Realty also has been hired to manage and lease the building.

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