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HOUSTON-Two headquarters tenants have inked new deals for a combined 97,149 sf in prominent, class A high rises in the Galleria and CBD.

Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas is adding 21,306 sf at San Felipe Plaza, grabbing the 25th floor to get contiguous space to a three-year office location in the Galleria area before it was gone. Long-time CBD tenant Petrohawk Energy Corp. has roped off 75,847 sf in Wells Fargo Plaza to set up an expansion of nearly 16,000 sf in its relocation from 1100 Louisiana.

PKF Texas, an accounting firm, had dibs on the 5847 San Felipe high rise’s 25th floor for three years, according to Steve Biegel, senior vice president and branch manager of Studley’s Houston office. With the 959,000-sf building pushing to full, a decision was made to exercise the option for a second floor and carve out 10,000 sf in two suites with elevator exposure for sublease, he says. The plan is to sublease the space on staggered terms so it’s available to be reeled back in when PKF’s ready to expand again, he explains.

“They assured themselves of the ability to grow in contiguous space and not be checker-boarded in the building,” Biegel says, adding the expansion is co-terminus to the long-term lease that’s in place. The sublease space is coming to market at 20% to 30% below the building’s full-service quote of $23.50 per sf.

PKF Texas will get its keys before the third quarter ends. Chip Colvill and Win Haggard with local firm, Colvill Office Properties, represent the building owner, Los Angeles-based Thomas Property Group.

Petrohawk has inked a seven-year, stair-stepped lease for floors 56, 57 and 58 in the 1.7-million-sf Wells Fargo Plaza at 1000 Louisiana St. And with energy companies pushing full throttle, the new deal naturally includes options to expand.

Petrohawk picked up some temporary space on the eighth floor as overflow for its 1100 Louisiana headquarters. Construction is about to begin on Petrohawk’s permanent space on the three upper floors, with the lease set to kick into effect in December. Lorie Herod of Giammalva Properties Inc. in Houston was the tenant’s rep while Kevin Wyatt, senior vice president in Lincoln Property Co.’s local office, and JP Hutcheson, leasing representative, bargained for the New York City-based building owner, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Metropolitan Tower Realty Co. Inc.

The Petrohawk lease drew stiff competition due to its size and credit-worthy standing. But the win, Wyatt stresses, “was entirely attributable to the repositioning of the building due to our redevelopment plan.”

MetLife’s redevelopment started this year and will wrap up in 2007. Since it got under way, Targa Resources has roped off 100,000 sf and Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP took 140,000 sf. With occupancy pushing toward 95%, the building’s quoted rent is now $17 per sf to $22 per sf.

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