Hines REIT Acquires $272M Houston Office Tower

Houston-based Hines REIT has acquired the 1.5 million-square-foot, 64-story Williams Tower–a property Hines originally developed and sold–for $271.5 million. The acquisition includes an undivided interest in the adjacent 2.8-acre Waterwall Park and a 2.3-acre undeveloped land parcel across the street from Williams Tower.  Williams Tower, which was completed in 1982, was developed by Hines, and has been managed and leased by the firm since then. At completion, the tower was known as Transco Tower for its major tenant, Transco Energy Corp. In 1995, Transco was purchased by Williams Field Services Co., and the building was renamed in 1999. Williams Tower is currently 94 percent leased. “Our primary focus is taking advantage of the opportunities we’re seeing in the market now,” Charles Hazen, president & CEO of Hines REIT, senior vice president of Hines and president of Hines’ U.S. Core Office Fund, told CPN on April 2. “We want to make sure that we’re paying attention to the areas of the country that may be seeing some softness. So, we’re focused on buying the right real estate in the right markets.” Houston may be one of those target markets. The city’s economy is bucking the national trend, as energy continues to drive demand for office space, according to Grubb & Ellis Co. In the 12 months ending February, the region added more jobs than any other U.S. metro area, the report stated. Designed by the architect Philip Johnson with John Burgee, the tower was the world’s tallest skyscraper outside of a city’s central business district at completion. At 909 feet it is the second-tallest building in Texas. A skywalk connects the tower to The Galleria, one of Houston’s most popular shopping and tourist attractions (which Hines also developed). The seller, Transco Tower Ltd., was represented by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.  Hines is the sponsor of Hines REIT, and is responsible for the acquisition, management and leasing of its assets. Hines REIT is a Houston-based public real estate investment trust sponsored by Hines.  Hines REIT commenced operations in November 2004 and primarily invests in institutional-quality office properties located in the United States.  Including this acquisition, Hines REIT currently owns interests in 45 properties, two of which are located outside of the United States.