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HOUSTON-With its Downtown hospital now sold, Christus Health has leased 109,576 sf of class A office space to expand its Gulf Coast network and provide a roof for relocating teams. The 129-month signing has triggered an all-out push to get the new offices ready to occupy by Nov. 1.

Robert S. Parsley, co-chairman and principal for Colliers International Inc. in Houston, tells GlobeSt.com that the team is “moving at breakneck speed” to ready floors in 1700 W. Loop South in time for the mandated move-out by the Dallas-based non-profit healthcare provider from St. Joseph’s Hospital. Christus sold the vintage hospital last month to the for-profit Hospital Partners of America from Charlotte, NC.

Parsley says the Christus lease delivers needed breathing space for office teams working in cramped quarters, including old operating rooms, and its 131,000-sf owned office building at 2600 N. Loop. The 1700 W. Loop floors will be used to house Christus’ Gulf Coast administration, accounting and purchasing, revenue cycle services, third-party reimbursement, information management, patient financial services and Christus Medical Group. The build-out includes conference rooms, auditorium, training rooms and fitness center. Christus’ West Loop staff will total 475, of which 290 employees are coming in from St. Joseph’s.

Parsley says Christus has dibs on additional space as it becomes available in the 253,135-sf, 15-story building. It is starting out with all of floors four, five, six and 11; more than half of floors eight and 12; and one-third of the ninth level. Parsley says at least three floors will be ready to occupy by the November deadline.

The building, owned by Chicago-based CMD Realty Investors Inc., jumped from 45% occupancy to 99.5% with the Christus lease. Michelle Wogan, senior vice president for locally based Transwestern Commercial Services bargained for the owner.

All that Parsley can say about the rate is it’s “favorable.” It also is less than the average for class A space in the Galleria-West Loop submarket, says Parsley, who teamed with Colliers principal Bill Byrd to work out the stair-stepped lease with nine months of free rent. Colliers’ latest market report puts the class A average at $20.10 per sf.

Parsley says the search started a year ago, fell quiet for several months and was resurrected in the spring. The dealmaker says the initial list had 10 alternatives, but only four buildings made the final cut–all in the West and North loops. He says the final decision was cemented on “economics, efficiency and proximity” to Christus’ 2600 North Loop.

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