DALLAS-The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., taking nearly one year to decide, will move Sept. 1 into 131,176 sf of class A space in Lincoln Plaza. The firm’s regional office will be expanded as part of a consolidation plan that plants one of two national service centers in the city.

The Fireman’s Fund expansion opens the door for 150 to 450 additional jobs. The decision ended with a 13-year lease for floors three through eight in the 1.1-million-sf, 45-story high rise at 500 N. Akard St., Rick Hughes, executive director for Dallas-based Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc., tells GlobeSt.com.

“My biggest challenge was to figure out what was the right size,” Hughes says. The office size changed as the deal’s dynamics put Dallas in the running for the national service center. “This could have all gone to St. Louis or Dallas or somewhere else,” he says. Dallas City Council kicked in incentives that helped to ring up the win to keep and expand the long-time regional office–as did other long-regarded relocation motives like the Central time zone, strong appeal for young professionals, high quality of life and low cost of living.

At the onset of the search for the regional office, Hughes says there were 20 options, which were pared to seven, with three making the short list. And all, he says, were in the CBD. Lincoln Plaza’s positioning on the north side, close to the Arts District, amenity base and easy ingress and egress to freeways and parking factored into the decision, according to Hughes. The lease value is never made public, but the Sacramento-based CalSTRS and its CB Richard Ellis broker, leasing director Blaine Hale, as would be expected, put an aggressive offer on the table for a high rise tagged at $14 per sf to $20 per sf annually plus electric.

“It was pretty straight forward,” Hughes says of the negotiations. “The hardest part was trying to figure out how big we were going to be.” The Fireman’s Fund lease for 90,000 sf, some of which has been subleased, expires at year’s end in Harwood Center at 1999 Bryan St.

C&W senior director Sabrina Hughes in Walnut Creek, CA teamed with Dallas’ powerbroker as the fund’s national account rep to work out the local deal. The brokers aren’t related.

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