January 12, 2015

BriarLake Plaza's Leasing Spree

Two BriarLake Plaza (333k SF) just welcomed its first occupants last month. But it's not adding a lot of vacancy to the campus--with solid pre-leasing and a flurry of leases in the last two months, the complex only has 107k SF available.

DTZ executive managing director John Pruitt and SVP Jessica Ochoa (DTZ's acquisition of Cassidy Turley closed on Jan. 5) tell us they've signed 81k SF in BriarLake since November. Samsung moved from One BriarLake to anchor Two BriarLake (it pre-leased half) in December. But DTZ immediately backfilled the space and brought the first tower up to 100% occupancy—Sikich LLP inked 9k SF in November, and Zurich American Insurance expanded to 32k SF this month. Pictured, John and Jessica with TIER REIT asset manager Kmeal Winters (left), whose firm owns BriarLake Plaza.

Meanwhile, Two BriarLake is 68% leased, thanks to a 27k SF lease to Noble Americas in November (it's an expansion for Noble, which occupies space in One BriarLake) and Chiyoda International taking down 12k SF this month. Jessica says BriarLake Plaza was already known as one of Westchase's most prestigious Class-A buildings, but the amenities added in 2014 (conference and fitness centers, multiple food services, free visitor parking and EZ tag garage access system), made it even more ideal for today's tenants.

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Houston moved up the ladder of the Milken Institute's annual best-performing cities list, coming in as the sixth-best in the US for 2014. (Last year, we were seventh.) The report highlights the Houston metro's consistent "phenomenal wage growth," which is 22% higher than the national average. Five of the top 10 cities are in Texas, with Austin barely losing the top slot to the San Francisco metro. The Lone Star State also dominated the small cities list, with three of the top 10 cities.


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The 84th Texas Legislature starts tomorrow and Texas BOMA is circling the wagons to oust subjective property appraisals. Houston BOMA EVP/COO Tammy Betancourt (here, right, with JLL's Mary Stanton and Transwestern's Brett Williams at the US Capitol) tells us there have been unpredictable and uncontrolled valuation increases on property values. In some areas of Houston, they've increased more than 100% in the last two years. In 2013, commercial property valuations across the Bayou City rose 53% on average, then another 18% in 2014. Similar double-digit increases have occurred in other Texas cities and counties, without proportionate reductions in tax rates.

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Camden: Superblock Development is On, Downtown May Have to Wait

A slowing economy won't affect Camden's plans to develop Midtown's Superblock, chairman/CEO Ric Campo told the Chronicle. The firm has an $88M multifamily property planned on the site, with tentative delivery in 2017. Camden's also been designing a Downtown development, the Chronicle reports, but will wait and see how falling oil prices affect the market before breaking ground. 


Join Us for Our First Event of 2015!

Houston's industrial real estate is one of the very best in the nation. Will that momentum continue through 2015? Will another submarket rise to compete with the saturated Northwest submarket? Join us for Bisnow's 5th annual Industrial Real Estate Summit, Jan. 29 at the JW Marriott. We've collected a panel of some of Houston's biggest developers to discuss leasing rates, new investment and future pipelines. Don't miss it (plus our legendary networking hours)--register now and we'll see you there!

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