Behringer Harvard Acquires 500,000 SF Houston Office Tower

Just two weeks after Hurricane Ike blew through Houston, Dallas-based Behringer Harvard has acquired One BriarLake Plaza, a 20-story tower with more than 500,000 square feet of office space there, for an undisclosed amount. Prior to closing, an initial assessment of the effect of Hurricane Ike on One BriarLake Plaza (pictured) indicated only minor damage to windows and landscaping. Tenants resumed normal business operations at the property on Sept. 16. Built in 2000 on more than nine acres along the Sam Houston Parkway in west Houston, the site provides access to Interstate 10 to the north and the Westpark Tollway to the south. Volatile energy prices may keep some smaller energy firms from committing to expansion plans until the market stabilizes, but the office outlook remains strong, and both employment growth and rent increases will be near the top in the nation again in 2008, according to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services’ second quarter office market report for Houston. On the supply side, the amount of competitive space coming online this year will reach a five-year high as a result of elevated occupancy levels. New Class A product in major office districts is still in high demand, though, as evidenced by recent leases inked for projects that are not expected to be completed for another three years, the report stated. “This is a great submarket within Houston that outperformed other submarkets last quarter,” Jason Mattox, chief administrative officer for Behringer Harvard, told CPN. “This submarket is the home to a lot of companies in the oil and gas industry…. This is a solid asset with a great tenant base with excellent prospects for a long-term hold.” With the acquisition of One BriarLake Plaza, Behringer Harvard REIT I Inc. owns interests in 74 properties, representing approximately 25.6 million square feet of rentable space in 23 states and the District of Columbia. On Sept. 12, CPN reported that Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I Inc. announced its initial public offering with plans of raising $2 billion. The company, which expects to qualify for REIT status for the 2007 taxable year, is selling 200 million shares of common stock at $10 per share, and is also offering as many as 50 million shares of common stock at $9.50 per share through its distribution reinvestment plan.