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JLL Arranges $52.8M Refinancing Of Historic Esperson In Downtown Houston

Houston Office
Esperson Building in downtown Houston

Contrarian Capital Management and Cameron Management have secured $52.8M in refinancing for the historic Esperson buildings in Downtown Houston. MetLife Investment Management provided the loan that replaces maturing debt on the asset.  

“The cost of debt remains attractive to owners and we’re seeing lenders very active in the Houston market,” JLL Managing Director Paul House said in a release. “Backed by strong, experienced ownership and as one of the only historic office buildings in downtown Houston, Esperson presented lenders with a one-of-a-kind opportunity.”

Along with House, JLL Executive Managing Director Tom Melody, Senior Vice President John Ream and associate Connor Harrell represented the ownership partnership. 

The Esperson buildings, totaling about 600K SF, features the 32-story Niels Esperson building and the 19-story Mellie Esperson building. While the assets were constructed separately, in 1927 and 1941, respectively, the buildings were connected in the 1950s.

The assets are bounded by Walker, Rusk, Milam and Travis streets, offer direct tunnel access and are near a number of restaurants, hotels, shops and public transportation.  

Cameron and Contrarian purchased the assets in 2012 and have invested about $11M in capital improvements, which included a number of upgrades and the historical restoration of key design features, such as the original floors, finishes and wall elements. Esperson maintains a diverse tenant mix, including companies in the energy, law and bank sectors, with no industry accounting for more than 20% of the tenant roster. 

In June 2017, HFF marketed Esperson for sale, but it eventually pulled the listing.