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January 12, 2010 

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Colliers International and FirstService Real Estate Advisors have merged to create the third largest CRE firm in the world, which will operate under Colliers International.
Four Oaks Tower

We snapped this picture of Colliers Intl Houston’s offices at Four Oaks Towers, from which prez Pat Duffy described the merger's benefits: Colliers gains access to more resources; eg, FirstService’s training library, which it immediately made available. Also, Colliers is taking advantage of 26 web-based training sessions in 2010. Pat says FirstService’s global identity is especially helpful in Houston, a highly international city. Colliers has over 15k employees in 480 offices in 61 countries, and FirstService is now the largest member. Its Houston branch will continue to be independently owned by co-chairs Charlie Herder and Bob Parsley. FirstService CEO Dylan Taylor is now the prez of Colliers International USA.

CBRE SVP Cody Armbrister

CBRE SVP Cody Armbrister has two big projects underway.  Above, he shows off the model for Discovery Tower, which will be renamed Hess Tower in honor of the tenant CBRE secured for the entire building. To best suit Hess’ needs, developer Trammell Crow altered its design: The building will be 29 stories and 842 SF of rentable space, less than planned, but because three floors are now double volume spaces, the building is taller. Wind turbines on top will produce 1-2% of the tower’s energy and be a visible indicator of the skyscraper’s LEED Gold pre-cert; less visible: the enthalpy wheel that pre-conditions air so less AC is needed.

Hess Tower

Hess moves in summer ’11, and we’re told location was key in finding a tenant so quickly: It borders Discovery Green and is on the east end of downtown, which Cody describes as an unofficial entertainment district. Besides immediate access to the $122M park, tenants are minutes from MinuteMaid Park, George R. Brown Convention Center, and the Toyota Center. Gensler designed the tower to interact with pedestrians: It's set back off the street, and the curtain ends above ground so passersby can see inside. GC Gilbane topped out this fall, and glazing/curtaining will be done within the month. Substantial completion and the beginning of tenant improvement are slated for this summer.

Centre at Cypress Creek

Cody is also marketing the Centre at Cypress Creek, a Class A, 40-acre campus in NW Houston. CBRE was awarded exclusive leasing and management by Principal Financial Group, which acquired it through foreclosure. (Principal and CBRE work together often, eg, Principal financed Discovery Tower.) The campus has three four-story, 78k SF office buildings and a one-story, 240k SF industrial/ distribution facility with 50k SF of office space. The previous owner had completed about 50% of planned renovations. CB has just begun marketing, but Cody reports good demand, possibly because of its proximity to Vintage Park. Unique to this property: because the buildings are connected, tenants can be stacked horizontally or vertically. Sounds painful.


JPMorgan Chase Tower

Add LEED Gold to JPMorgan Chase Tower's honors (among them, tallest building in Texas). The 1.6M SF, 75-story, I.M. Pei-designed building is owned by Texas Tower Ltd and managed by Hines, which developed it in ’82. Hines worked with Kirksey’s EcoServices group to get the cert, which it earned for features like reduced-mercury lights, low-flow fixtures, and green build-out guidelines for tenants. Chase Tower currently has an Energy Star rating of 91, which means it’s 46% more efficient than the national average. Hines SVP John Mooz says LEED cert is a focus because it's a “significant decision point” for major tenants. The skyscraper is 92% leased.


And we wandered a few blocks over to get this shot of Chase’s soon-to-be-neighbor, MainPlace. Bisnow readers will remember the 46-story tower is also developed by Hines and pre-certified LEED Silver.

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