CarrAmerica Heavy Hitter Scruggs Heads to Transwestern

After a highly successful 11-year stint as vice president of leasing at CarrAmerica Realty Corp. in Austin, real estate industry veteran Roy Scruggs has left the company and made his way to Transwestern as senior vice president. His departure has brought the closing of the leasing division of the Austin office two years after CarrAmerica had been snapped up by affiliates of The Blackstone Group in a $5.6 billion deal. Moving to Transwestern, Scruggs told CPN today, was a natural transition. “Transwestern has a similar culture to CarrAmerica’s, so the fit was just right.” During his time at CarrAmerica, Scruggs oversaw leasing for a property portfolio that ranged from 1.4 million to 3.3 million square feet, and had a hand in the development of over 1.2 million square feet of office space. He has a plethora of major transactions under his belt, including last year’s 417,000-square-foot renewal and expansion office lease with Apple Inc. at the 1.1 million-square-foot Riata Corporate Park and Riata Crossing property, and a 388,000-square-foot office lease Janus Capital Corp. A stellar history at CarrAmerica and a three-decade career in the industry, however, are not all Scruggs brought to the table. He did not show up on Transamerica’s doorstep empty-handed, as he arrived with some highly desirable baggage–400,000 square feet of premium office listings, as well as coveted liaisons. “One of our customers on the Riata deal–its sale just closed yesterday–was JP Morgan, which owns the 600,000-square-foot River Place project, so we’ll continue that relationship with those asset managers,” Scruggs said.At his new home, Scruggs will focus on agency leasing and account relations with both institutional and private clients, and he will handle new business development, as well. Austin, like other metropolitan areas in the country, is taking its hits in the midst of the credit crisis, as companies put expansion plans on hold, downsize or disappear altogether. However, the city’s office market is a bit of a mixed bag. According a recent report by Transwestern, the vacancy rate at mid-year was 11.4 percent, lower than the 11.9 percent rate at the close of 2007, but higher than the 10.6 percent rate at midyear 2007. “It’s an uncertain market,” Scruggs said. “There’s been a third of the absorption there normally would be, so it has slowed down.” Yet, certain industries are keeping the market afloat. “It’s a very tech-based town. We have Dell, Motorola, Silicon Labs, and a lot of those companies are continuously expanding. [Video] games is a big, growing sector, so we have a lot of firms like that and that will offset the slowness.”