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HOUSTON-Argus Realty Investors LP has made its first push into the region’s office market, acquiring a 253,524-sf, three-building portfolio from Caldwell Cos. The San Clemente, CA-based buyer plans a 10-year-hold of the class B properties, which it acquired for close to $25 million.

The 25-year-old portfolio is 98% leased. Locally based Caldwell will continue to lease and manage the buildings. “We look at this as an income play, with upside coming from the Houston market being so strong,” explains J. Drever, Argus Realty’s senior vice president of acquisitions for Central US and Texas. “Our plan is to get into buildings in that area that have a good per-pound price, ride the market and benefit from that.”

The income play also will include some capital investment due in part to an electrical fire that broke out following the purchase of the five-story, 83,078-sf Park Ten Place in West Houston. The building at 16420 Park Ten Place sustained about $2 million in damages. Drever tells GlobeSt.com that Argus’ asset team in Houston is already working on repairs.

“We had already planned on minor upgrades for all three buildings before the fire, just to keep them up to date,” Drever explains. With help from insurance coverage, Park Ten Place will undergo fairly extensive upgrades on the exterior and interior, including the lobby.

Tenants impacted by the fire were moved to another asset in the portfolio, the 102,865-sf, six-story Broadfield at 1400 Broadfield Blvd. It is situated less than one mile from Park Ten Place.

Argus Realty is no stranger to Houston, having traded in the industrial arena for assets like Sugar Land Business Center and 205,000-sf office/warehouse at 200 Portwall St. and 191,500-sf Portwall Distribution Center II at 250 Portwall St. Additionally, a sister company, Concierge Asset Management of Tiburon, CA, has multifamily holdings in the area. But the Caldwell acquisition, which also includes the 67,481-sf Willowbrook Office Building at 7915 FM 1960 Rd. West in North Houston is its first foray into the region’s office market. The buyer’s criteria are stabilized class A and class B buildings.

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