Houston's Iconic Williams Tower Goes Up for Grabs

Hines REIT tapped Jones Lang LaSalle to help it sell its famous Williams Tower in Houston. The city landmark boasts 1.4 million square feet of office property and has been owned by the REIT for the past four years.

Williams Tower, a well-known fixture on the Houston skyline, is being put on the market. Hines has decided to sell the 1.4 million-square-foot office property and has tapped commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to find a buyer.

Hines REIT has owned the nearly 30-year-old tower since 2008, when it acquired the property at 2800 Post Oak Blvd. for $271.5 million. But the company’s history with the landmark–a 64-year-old skyscraper– goes back to 1983, when Hines developed the property, which, at the time, held the distinction of being the tallest skyscraper in the world located outside of a central business district.

JLL will have plenty to tout about Williams Tower beyond its prominence. The building is 95 percent leased, boasting a tenant roster that includes, of course, Williams, as well as Hines, which maintains its global headquarters in the high-rise. Additionally, the property offers the benefit of being directly connected via skywalk to the city’s celebrated Galleria shopping center and tourist destination.

Williams Tower is just one of many iconic office properties that have hit the market across the country this year. Every city has a landmark office tower or two, the kind of building that everyone within eyeshot, if not beyond, can identify on sight. News emerged during the second quarter that TIAA-CREF would sell Atlanta’s  1.4 million-square-foot Concourse Corporate Center V & VI , two structures that commercial real estate services firm Colliers described in a report as the city’s “most iconic office building couple.” During the first quarter, 100 Federal, the highly recognized, 1.3 million-square-foot trophy office tower in Boston’s financial district, sold to office REIT Boston Properties Inc. for $610 million. Seattle’s historic 42-story Smith Tower was picked up at auction in March.

Investors appear to be keen on adding landmark office assets to their portfolios in the United States, but if a trend is afoot, it’s one that, in North America, is confined to the country.  As per a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute, “Canadian pension fund owners and REITs seem well satisfied clipping coupons on most of the country’s iconic office buildings and fortress malls. It doesn’t make sense to sell when you already have the best income-producing properties.”