KBR Plans 1MSF Office Complex in Houston Suburb

As the Energy Corridor of Houston moves outward toward the suburb of Katy, Houston-based KBR plans to ink a deal for almost 1 million square feet of office space in a long-term lease in a campus off Grand Parkway and Interstate 10. Financials of the deal were not disclosed.KBR signed an earnest money agreement with plans to enter into a long-term lease for the new facility. The new facility is expected to be more than 910,000 square feet. Despite the new facility, KBR plans to maintain its downtown Houston location for a corporate and operations presence. No contract has been signed for the new site, although construction should start before the end of the year with a targeted 2010 occupancy. The project will feature a low-rise, tilt-wall construction and is being designed within LEED specifications.The site is on the southwest corner of I-10 and Grand Parkway on 125 acres owned by Trammell Crow Company, Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy Area Economic Development Council, told CPN. KBR will take about 80 acres of that site, he added.“Grand Parkway is a great piece of transportation infrastructure that will eventually connect to (highway) 290,” LaCour said. “When I-10 is finished, it will go all the way to Loop 610 and you’ll have a great mobility situation. We’re close to the Energy Corridor to BP, Conoco, Phillips and Shell as well as Mustang engineering. They’re all on I-10.”In a prepared statement, a KBR spokesman said the additional location at the other end of the Energy Corridor – which is located just west of the intersection of Interstate 10 and the Grand Parkway – is crucial to KBR to meet its future growth demand and also add a more favorable location for its employee and customer base. A KBR spokesman declined further comment.In November 2006, Colliers International stated that both Yancey-Hausman and Trammell Crow Co. pegged the Energy Corridor for new office developments. The area is in need of new office buildings that will do much to help alleviate the strong demand for quality, class A office space in the market.Katy Area Economic Development Corporation worked on the project with The Staubach Company team for about a year and a half to facilitate the location in the Katy Area, said LaCour. The Katy Freeway/Energy Corridor submarket posted 301,813 square feet of black absorption ink in the first quarter, according to a Grubb and Ellis Research first quarter 2008 Houston office market report. The report also stated that the majority of the quarterly growth occurred in Class A properties with 317,633 square feet. Contributing to the quarterly growth, Trammell Crow Company and Principal Real Estate Investors delivered a 332,000-square-foot, Class A office complex located at 585 N. Dairy Ashford. The project dubbed Energy Center I was leased to Foster Wheeler USA Corp. The tenant, who supplies construction services and equipment to the energy industry, took possession of the building upon its completion in February. The Katy Freeway/Energy Corridor submarket saw vacancy hold steady at 8.4 percent despite the largest positive quarterly absorption posting, which was a result of new space deliveries keeping pace with tenant demand.KBR is a global engineering, construction and services company supporting the energy, petrochemicals, government services and civil infrastructure sectors. The company offers a wide range of services through its Downstream, Government and Infrastructure, Services, Technology, Upstream and Ventures business segments.