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DALLAS-Pittsburgh-based McKnight Realty Partners is keeping its 734,400-sf two-tower office block in North Dallas under the watch of its three-year overseer, who’s changed brokerage houses and has built a new team.

Kathy Permenter, managing director in Dallas for Santa Ana, CA-based Grubb & Ellis Co., has been McKnight’s broker since they bought 3 and 4 Park Central towers in August 2005. The 15-year veteran, who lost her partner with the move from CB Richard Ellis, will regroup with two seven-year brokers at her side: Russell S. Johnson Jr., senior vice president, who followed her from CBRE, and Chris Wright, the firm’s newest senior vice president. Wright took his seat on the team one week ago after spending several years at Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners LP, rising to senior associate in charge of 2.5 million sf of office space in Fort Worth and Dallas.

“The market probably thinks it was a given, but it wasn’t a given necessarily with the team being split,” Permenter tells GlobeSt.com. “We did present our new team and we won the business with our new team.”

In today’s economic climate, owners are leaning toward experience to see their assets through the hard times, according to Permenter. “That’s what we’re building here [Grubb & Ellis] is an experienced team,” she adds.

Wright confides that he “wasn’t expecting to make a move.” But, a two-week courtship by Permenter and Moody D. Younger, Grubb & Ellis’ managing director of Texas, changed Wright’s mind. “Stream is a great place. It was tough to leave,” Wright says, “but it was just a great opportunity to help them build a leasing team.” At various points in their careers, the quartet all worked together at Stream.

Permenter says there are still a few deals working through channels that she began with former partner, Burson Holman, but basically it’s time to start anew with the class B buildings’ leasing history. The 512,775-sf 3 Park Central at 12700 Park Central Dr. is 94% leased, but it will be sporting three open floors in mid-2009. Marketing has just begun for the 75,000-sf block on floors 15, 16 and 17.

The 221,625-sf 4 Park Central at 12712 Park Central Dr. is 73% leased, with the top floor of the four-story building up for grabs. Permenter says the 55,000-sf block is being shown only to full-floor users. The quoted rate, across the board, is $17.50 per sf plus electric.

In keeping with McKnight’s leasing strategy, Permenter says the floors will be stripped to shell once they are emptied. An architectural firm occupies the 15th floor and the 120-employee McQueary Henry Bowles Troy LLP is vacating the other two floors. As the push kicks in, she says “we have some proposals out.”

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