Norfolk Tower Buyer Nitya Capital plans to upgrade Norfolk Tower and rebrand it as Nitya Tower (credit: Jud Haggard).

HOUSTON—Energy employment increased 1% year over year, but has yet to translate to recovery in the commercial property market, according to a recent report by JLL. Still, the office market offers relief and opportunity for tenants.

Specifically, 28.7% of the office space is occupied by energy tenants. The low oil price environment is increasing vacancy and resulting in record levels of sublease space. Also, energy leasing activity is up significantly from 2016 and 1.8 million square feet of sublease space will expire within 12 months, so total vacancy is expected to increase. As an example, midstream companies were largely unaffected by the downturn. These companies are capitalizing on the sublease space brought to market by upstream companies.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.

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