IRVING, TX-Wells REIT II and Verizon Communications Inc. have agreed to extend a 253,498-sf, full-building lease by another five years after one year of negotiations. The existing class A pact was set to expire in April 2008.

“It’s the largest class A lease signed in a decade in Las Colinas,” Jon Altschuler, president of Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners LP, tells about the recommitment to 919 Hidden Ridge. “Getting the deal closed, validates the plan that Wells REIT set forth at the acquisition [in 2005]. The acquisition team and asset management have pulled off a very successful investment for their investors.”

The Atlanta-based Wells REIT bought the building and immediately opened talks with Verizon, the building’s sole tenant since its doors opened in 1998. The office space houses Verizon Corporate Services Group Inc., a back-office operation.

Verizon’s broker, Shelly Christenson with Dallas-based Staubach Co., did search the market as would be expected for a deal of its size. Not only would it have been difficult to uproot the operation from its long-time location, but the suburban class A office building is laced with infrastructure like dual power feeds, fiber redundancy and structured parking, which was “important,” Jerry Banks, Wells REIT’s senior vice president of asset management. “It’s a great building. I don’t think you’ll find a building that size with that infrastructure,” he adds.

Equally as important, Banks says the owner did what it needed to keep the New York City-headquartered Verizon in place. “I don’t think there were that many hurdles, with what they needed to do and what we were able to offer,” he says. “It was the right building for them to stay in. We do everything we can to meet tenants’ needs and hold our tenants.” Stream’s Rebecca Smith teamed with Altschuler and Banks.

Although the financials are off limits, Banks did confirm the stair-stepped lease has annual bumps. Rents have risen significantly in the past six weeks in Las Colinas and all across the metroplex. Rates in Las Colinas for its highest-end product have pushed above $30 per sf.

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