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THE WOODLANDS, TX-Bridas Energy USA is the first tenant to take space in the 216,000-square-foot 4 Waterway Square office building. The energy company is taking 24,952 square feet for its U.S. headquarters through a long-term lease.

Bridas USA, which deals with natural gas and oil, will move into its new digs at the corner of Waterway Square Place and Woodloch Forest Drive in December 2009, and will take the entire top floor of the nine-story structure. The company currently occupies close to 8,000 square feet in the Parkwood Building at 10077 Grogan’s Mill Rd., also located in The Woodlands.

The lease with Bridas Energy was signed a little more than a year after Woodlands Development Co. broke ground on the class A 4 Waterway Square. The building is expected to come online by fall 2009 and Woodlands Development Co. vice president of commercial Dan Leverett says interest and activity on the project are exceeding his expectations.

“We’re negotiating with tenants and we don’t have glass on the buildings yet,” Leverett tells GlobeSt.com. “We normally do pre-leasing for our projects, but until you get glass on, you’re not going to have a tremendous amount of activity. But this has been trending better than we’d anticipated.”

Leverett explains that, while there has been softness in the Houston area office market overall, The Woodlands, which is approximately 30 miles north of Houston’s CBD, has fared better than other submarkets. Part of the reason is due to The Woodland Co.’s tight control on building. “We build as we feel the market will absorb,” Leverett says.

Furthermore, The Woodlands keeps on growing, bringing more retail, office and medical. “People move here because of the residential, and companies move here because people live here, which brings retail on board and more hospitals,” Leverett says. “It’s incongruent, if you read the papers about what’s going on in the rest of the nation. But we’re still selling homes, and we’re still leasing retail here.”

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