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HOUSTON-KBC Advanced Technologies Inc.’s 10-year lease is the first one for the 240,000-sf Energy Crossing I. The consulting, process engineering and software group is taking 28,500 sf in the under-construction class A office building.

The spec building is slated to open March 1 at 15021 Katy Frwy., about five miles west of KBC’s current location at 1401 St. Mary’s Lane. Robert Wheless, director of real estate development in Houston for Phoenix-based Opus West Corp., says KBC was looking at other office space in the Energy Corridor submarket. “We offered them the top floor and a competitive lease rate,” he tells GlobeSt.com, categorizing the terms as “influential.” The quoted rate hovers 19.50 per sf net plus a market-rate tenant-improvement allowance.

Opus was represented by CB Richard Ellis senior vice president John Pruitt and vice president Dena Wren, both in Houston. The tenant rep was senior associate Anthony Squillante in the local office of Dallas-based Jackson Cooksey.

KBC’s lease fills 12% of the six-story building. Wheless says Opus West currently is negotiating with one company for another floor of the building and in discussions for the balance with another prospective tenant. “I anticipate we’ll be substantially leased during 2009,” he says.

Once much of the first building is leased, the plan is to break ground on a second one. Wheless says Opus West could get it moving quicker if a tenant stepped up for the entire building. The second building is planned as a twin to the first, but “if a user needed a larger requirement than 240,000 sf, we could upsize it,” Wheless says.

Energy Crossing sits on 15.6 acres. The build-out includes parking garages and a one-acre retail pad site. Wheless says Opus West will continue operating the development for a certain period of time. “If the market is a good one,” he adds, “we’ll consider a disposition.”

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