An Office Groundbreaking?!
Last week, we heard that office activity (especially new leases) has basically screeched to a halt. A few new big deals have proven that some sectors are still active and deals are getting done, including ones that are kicking off development.
Cemex, a building materials firm, is expanding and outgrowing its space in Memorial City. But landlord MetroNational isn’t letting it go; it’s building a six-story, 240k SF Class-A office building at the northwest corner of I-10 and Gessner. Cemex is the anchor, taking 80k SF for its HQ. MetroNational is breaking ground this fall and says it has had significant interest both in the remaining 160k SF there (the first floor will have 15k SF of retail) and in the space Cemex is vacating across the street. Powers Brown is the architect and Anslow Bryant is the GC; Cresa’s Sue Rogers and Steven Heal repped the tenant.
The building is MetroNational’s first new development north of I-10, although it does own the JPMorgan Chase Call Center there. On that stretch of I-10, the north side has traditionally been much slower to develop than the south, and there’s very little office product in particular there. MetroNational owns 18 acres on the north side (it’s been assembling the tract since 1961) and will continue to build there—will we start to see more office follow suit?
Existing product also got a little boost—Zachry leased 49k SF at Westchase Park II. Savills Studley senior managing director Kevin Hodges (here with wife Joan; he repped Zachry) says process engineering companies like Zachry are still busy, and the companies that are willing to act are getting a break. Kevin tells us most landlords are bumping up concessions, especially in buildings with large vacancies. Zachry, like Cemex, is growing, especially through an acquisition last year. Although it looked in the Energy Corridor, it really wanted to stay put in Westchase (it has been in 25k SF at 10255 Richmond Ave). PMRG’s Wade Bowlin, John Spafford and Allie Hubbard repped the landlord.