DALLAS-Baylor Health Care System is adding a conference center and media room to its stack of office space in the Downtown. In a co-terminus pact with its 254,000-sf master lease, the hospital owner has grabbed the 23,431-sf second story to take its stack to nine full floors in Bryan Tower.

The second floor, empty for a couple years, will be ready to use in early first quarter 2009. Baylor’s expansion at 2001 Bryan St. drives the 1.1-million-sf high rise to 85% occupancy. “This is the highest it’s been since we’ve owned the building,” Jon Ruff, senior vice president of Houston-based Spire Realty Group LP, tells GlobeSt.com. And, he adds that an existing tenant is negotiating to add the 35th floor, the only opening in the 40-story building, to expand its office. The talks, though, are still in the early stages, he cautions.

Spire acquired Bryan Tower in late 1996 when occupancy was 15% and dipped to 8% in the following year. By 2000, Spire had completed a massive overhaul and began re-tenanting the class A space. Today’s rate is quoted at $18 per sf plus electric.

Ruff says all rolls for this year have been bed down. With 100% occupancy within sight, he emphasizes that Spire is a long-term holder. “We have no plans of selling,” he says.

Dallas-based Baylor has part of its administrative team in the Bryan Tower space. The master lease has many years left on its term, according to Ruff. He points out the building’s second floor is a mezzanine level that has some retail shops and easy street access that makes it ideal for a conference center. Baylor’s broker Chris Hermann, senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis in Dallas, and Spire’s team, managing directors Matt Craft and Jon McNeil with Jones Lang LaSalle took the deal across the finish line in just a few months of talks.

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