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January 15, 2013

Tishman Speyer Snags 575 KSF Office Lease with French Government

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

Two French government agencies have signed a lease with Tishman Speyer for the entire 575,000-square-foot (53,000-square-meter), 36-story Tour Esplanade office high-rise in the La Defense district just west of Paris, Tishman announced Monday. Financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed, but Commercial Property Executive did learn that the lease is for a 12-year term.

The lease will let the French government consolidate space from five locations by moving the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Ecology into Tour Esplanade. The deal reportedly is the largest in the Paris region in the past year and the largest in La Defense since 2008.

The transaction will trade one single, very large tenant for another; the building is now fully occupied by SFR, France’s second-largest telecom service provider and a part of the Vivendi conglomerate.

The two ministries will move in by mid-2014, after SFR vacates and Tishman Speyer renovates and customizes the building. Under the lease agreement, the French government will have a purchase option.

According to a Tishman Speyer spokesperson, Tour Esplanade’s previous owner was a group of global investors led by SITQ, which in 2011 merged with Ivanhoé Cambridge. The building was built in 1990 and refurbished in the 2004–06 timeframe, and Tishman bought it in 2006.

Tour Esplanade is sited near the center of La Defense, between the CNIT exhibition center and the Grande Arche, near the main pedestrian avenue. Its amenities include conference facilities, a 150-seat auditorium, a 670-seat restaurant, a sport center and 251 private parking spaces, and in 2011 it was awarded one of France’s highest HQE (green building) ratings.

First developed in the late 1950s, La Defense ultimately grew to become Europe’s largest purpose-built business district. Covering nearly 80 acres, it’s home to more than 70 buildings, including 14 high-rises; 180,000 daily workers and 37.7 million square feet (3.5 million square meters) of office space.

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