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AUSTIN-Kolar Advertising has ended a full-market search of class A office properties with a seven-year lease for 21,705 sf in Norwood Tower. The agency, which has its suburban office condo up for sale, is planning to set up shop Downtown in December.

“They thought all along they’d end up Downtown,” Chris Perry, vice president in Trammell Crow Co.’s Austin office, tells GlobeSt.com. “And in the end, they thought Downtown was the best place for them.” The agency will keys to floors four, five and five A in the 15-story, 118,786-sf tower at 114 W. 7th St., best known locally as the penthouse home for its owner, Luci Baines Johnson Turpin and her husband, Ian.

“We felt like they gave us a real competitive economic package,” Perry says, citing the building’s “unique” space and direct access to a wrap-around deck as key to the deal-making scenario. He adds that the tenant-improvement allowance is big enough to produce first generation-comparable space.

Norwood Tower, which is now filled, is a class A building with quotes right in line with the market: $10 per sf to $14 per sf for the space and $10 per sf to $11 per sf for operating expenses. The owner’s team consisted of Brett Arabie with Colliers Oxford in Austin, Turpin, John Welborn and Nancy Burns.

Perry says Kolar’s decision to lease instead of own was based on the 17-year-old agency’s growth, which is now up to 70 employees. “The business is really growing fast,” he says. “Ownership really isn’t the best option.” The search began at the beginning of the year, with the short list pitting two Downtown offices against one in the suburbs.

“Our growth forced us to look seriously at this move over a year ago,” Mike Kolar says in a press release. “With the continued expansion we have experienced in 2006 and what we are projecting for 2007, this move comes at the perfect time.”

With the Norwood Tower decision made, Kolar has placed a 12,500-sf condo floor at 8500 Bluffstone Cove in the Great Hills Village office park on the market. The five-year-old condo is tagged at $2.6 million or $23 per sf for a full-service lease.

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