Houston Office Market Continues to Flourish

Over the course of a couple of days, the Houston office of real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis Inc. represented several clients in long-term leases in the city for a total of more than 60,000 square feet.The deals are representative of the city’s continued growth in a nation troubled by a shaky economy. But, for Houston, it’s all in a day’s work.“This is the normal course of business,” said John Pruitt, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Houston. “We still have a growing economy even though job growth slowed from 100,000 new jobs a year to 40,000 new jobs.”Pruitt said Houston is a market that has more than 183 million square feet and much of that in Downtown is tied in to long-term leases of seven to 10 years. Annually, it is expected that about 18 million square feet of office space will be up for renewals.Among those renewing leases include the law firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre L.L.P.,which renewed its lease for 10,500 square feet at Chase Tower, located at 600 Travis in Houston’s Central Business District. The law firm plans growth in its Houston office and has options for additional space.Samson Lone Star L.L.C. renewed its lease of 27,200 square feet of space at Travis Tower (pictured), located at 1301 Travis St., in Houston’s Central Business District. Genesis Energy has leased 22,700 square feet of office space at 919 Milam in Houston’s Central Business District. And Los Angeles-based Younan Properties Inc., a privately-held real estate investment and asset management company, has seen opportunities in Houston, snapping up 3 million square feet of office space–with an average of 90 percent occupancy–in just the past year.“One of every two jobs created in America in the past year was in the state of Texas, with the majority of those in Houston. It is the strongest Texas city and energy, gas and oil only make up 26 percent of the GRP (Gross Regional Product.) Healthcare, manufacturing and the busiest port in America–the Port of Houston–all contribute,” Zaya Younan, CEO of Younan Properties, told CPN. “The city is growing because the port and because of the city’s central location. It is in the center of the country and fuel costs can be reduced by half if distribution companies locate there rather than the West or East Coast. There is a tremendous availability of highly educated, skilled workers, too. Couple that with the low cost of living and there is as significant momentum shift to Houston.”Noting that there are more Fortune 500 companies in Houston than any other American city including New York, Younan said, because of this and the job growth–among other reasons discussed–there is a tremendous demand for office space in Houston and this momentum will continue for the next 10 to 15 years.Kyle Kelley, Lance McCarthy, Lesa Nickelson and Charles Gordon with CB Richard Ellis represented the tenant, Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre L.L.P., in the transaction, while Sam Hansen and Chrissy Wilson with Hines represented the landlord, Texas Tower Limited. Dave Hanusa and Cody Armbrister with CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, Behringer Harvard, in the transaction with Samson Lone Star, which was represented by Mike Boehler with Staubach.Kyle Kelley, Lance McCarthy and Lesa Nickelson with CB Richard Ellis represented Samson Lone Star in the transaction at Travis Tower, while Brad Sinclair, Jennifer Leroy and Michelle Wogan with Transwestern Commercial Services represented the landlord, Transwestern Investment Co.