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AUSTIN-Further solidifying its relationship with MetLife Inc., Trammell Crow Co. has signed a medium-term contract to manage and lease three class A high-rise office buildings in the Southwest. The contract will take the 3.4 million sf through a renovation period and beyond.

The high rises are 100 Congress in Austin, One Shell Square in New Orleans and Wells Fargo Plaza in Houston. The buildings’ occupancies go from 70% to 90%.

The challenge involved with 100 Congress is getting the 20-year-old, 411,536-sf building through construction that’s happening next door. “A residential tower is going up next door and we’re working to make sure the construction doesn’t have any impact on the tenants,” says Tony Long, TCC’s regional director for the central US.

In Houston, the 23-year-old, 1.7-million-sf Wells Fargo Plaza at 1000 Louisiana St. will undergo general renovation to common areas, including the sky and main lobbies and health club. Meanwhile, the 1.7-million-sf One Shell Square at 701 Poydras St., built in 1972, is still being paced through its renovations from Hurricane Katrina.

“There’s a very similar goal across all three buildings,” Long says. “There are various forms of construction going on in and around the buildings that will improve them. And, we’ll be trying to manage the disruptions.”

Long tells GlobeSt.com that his company and MetLife have a longstanding relationship, which is one reason he believes MetLife chose TCC when the contract expired with Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. for the trio. Lincoln could not be reached by publication time to comment on the contract loss.

“We mainly manage properties for them in Dallas, but are focusing on expanding that relationship across the US,” Long says. If there are more deals in the works with the two companies, he’s not discussing them at this point.

For TCC, the contracts mean synergy between the buildings and existing tenants. “We’re looking for high-credit tenants that will be around for a long time,” Long adds. “Every asset has a different feel to it. In each instance, we’ll look at the market opportunities and try to maximize them.”

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