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ADDISON, TX-A leading law firm for mortgage servicing has re-upped and expanded its headquarters space, abandoning an 18-month search for an office building to buy. The dealmaking has bed down 76,679 sf in two neighboring locations in five-year leases with two months’ free rent.

Barrett Burke Wilson Castle Daffin & Frappier’s double deal could be the largest office lease signed to date this year in the Quorum-Belt Line submarket, says Cameron Tapley, senior vice president of the tenant advisory group in Dallas for Grubb & Ellis Co. The 400-employee firm has occupied the entire 47,140-sf class B building at 15000 Surveyor Blvd. for the past decade. Two years ago, it leased 10,839 sf across the street in the Forum at 4004 Belt Line Rd. and has now added 18,700 sf of the class B space to keep up with its growth, the broker says.

Tapley says the law firm dropped a long-time search for a building to buy about four months ago. “They had a lot of infrastructure invested in the locations. To replicate that on the technology side was pretty expensive,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “And timing was such that they were so busy they didn’t need to be in the middle of that kind of move.”

Tapley says the acquisition hunt most likely will ramp up again in two years. He says the preferred strategy is to get a building large enough for the firm to fill 80,000 sf to 100,000 sf and have some extra room for tenants. “But, for right now, we’re sitting pat,” he says.

Both locations are owned by Ralston Investment Co. of Santa Monica, CA. Tapley bargained against Dennis Barnes, senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis in Dallas, for the Surveyor Boulevard building and dealt directly with Ralston to work out terms for the Forum space.

Tapley says the law firm is in the process of moving into the expansion space, which was the only part of the five-year deals to win a tenant-improvement package. The firm holds a triple net lease for Surveyor Boulevard building. The average rate for class B office space in the Quorum submarket is $19.03 per sf, according to Grubb & Ellis’ third-quarter report.

With the Dallas headquarters space locked down, Tapley’s also in the final stage of lease talks for a 3,000-sf office in North Austin and looking for three sites in major metros outside Texas. Barrett Burke Wilson Castle Daffin & Frappier also has offices at 1900 St. James Place in Houston and 1017 Central Pkwy. in San Antonio.

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