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HOUSTON-Three years after it acquired the 129,315-sf Post Oak Plaza, Levcor Inc. is ready to begin renovating the 40-year-old shopping center in the Galleria submarket. A $38-million loan is funding the plan.

Thomas V. Grieco, Levcor’s VP of finance, says the renovation is the first one in the shopping center’s history. The focus for the 1751 Post Oak Blvd. property will be mostly aesthetics, specifically the façade, landscaping and parking lots. He tells GlobeSt.com that capital also has been set aside for tenant-improvement allowances and lease commissions for newer tenants, but remained mum about the new lessees’ identities.

Grieco says renovations will begin Monday and take 12 to 18 months to complete. Currently, the center is 85% occupied. Its major tenants include Linens ‘n Things Inc., Whole Earth Provision Co., the Arrangement, Pinto Ranch and Luby’s Inc.

When the center was acquired in June 2004, there was some discussion on the part of the new owners about how far to take the renovation. Discussions had focused on tearing down parts of it to make room for multi-level buildings, some office and even a parking garage.

Nothing major was decided at the time because many Post Oak Plaza tenants had long-term leases. Additionally, there was expected to be extra competition from the 43,000-sf Fashion Square across the street, owned by Wulfe & Co. of Houston –another consideration factored into Levcor’s final decision.

Grieco tells GlobeSt.com that, three years into ownership, Levcor won’t be doing any major overhaul, and even the rehab is what he dubs “soft” renovation. “We’re keeping this a shopping center, and as-is, at this point,” he adds. He says more retail could be added to the center through a multi-level format, but market conditions will determine future changes.

Financing was arranged by John Burke, managing director and SVP with NorthMarq Capital Inc.’s Houston office. Mony Life Insurance Co. in New York City provided the funding.

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