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Williams Tower sale closes

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Invesco Real Estate has added a trophy Houston building to its portfolio with the acquisition of Williams Tower by The Galleria.

As previously reported, an Invesco fund has purchased the 64-story Williams Tower at 2800 Post Oak Blvd. from Hines Real Estate Investment Trust.  Hines announced the sale today.

UPDATE: The sales price of $412 million is among the biggest transactions in        Houston in recent years, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Hines purchased the property in May 2008 for $271.5 million, according        to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The iconic building designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee is home to Williams, Rowan Cos., Quanta Services, Cadence Bancorp and other tenants. When developed in 1983, it was the tallest skyscraper in the world outside of a downtown area. The building rises 909 feet and contains 1.4 million square feet.

It serves as global headquarters for Houston-based Hines, which will continue to manage the property. The building is more than 95 percent leased.

The property drew interest from investors around the world, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, which marketed the building. Offers came from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

A team from Jones Lang LaSalle, including Michael Zietsman, Tom Melody and Dan Bellow, led the sales effort.

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Hines touts new 41-story skyscraper in downtown Houston as demand for office space grows. http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/03-14-13-hines-touts-new-41-story-skyscraper-in-downtown-houston/

Hines, the Houston real estate firm that developed the Galleria and a number of skyscrapers in downtown, is planning and marketing a major new downtown office tower on Main Street that will be at least 41 stories tall and perhaps, even taller.

The building would be located at the southwest corner of Main and Texas Avenue, catty-cornered from the Rice Lofts, which was the historic Rice Hotel at one time. The Hines site is a city block known as Block 69.

“Hines proudly introduces Houston’s next landmark, 609 Main at Texas, a stunning, 41-story 815,000-square-foot office tower soon to be situated in the heart of downtown.”

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Hines owns the Block 69 site, which is mostly vacant land. Calling the proposed building “609 Main at Travis” the new Hines marketing brochure says “Hines proudly introduces Houston’s next landmark, 609 Main at Texas, a stunning, 41-story 815,000-square-foot office tower soon to be situated in the heart of downtown.”

Hines says no anchor tenant has been signed and without a major tenant in-tow, the company would not begin construction. But experts in the commercial real estate community believe Hines is close to signing a major corporation to lease a sizable chunk of the building and have the building completed by late 2016. Skyscrapers of this magnitude usually take two years or more to build.

The Hines proposed tower at 609 Main further validates Main Street as a prime business address in today’s market. Over the last 20 or 30 years, Main Street had become dominated by exhaust-spewing buses and low-end retail. But Main Street has been changing for the better in recent years.

Two years ago, Hines completed the BG Group Place tower on Main Street and it is now 96 percent leased.

“Back in 2007, our investment thesis for BG Group Place and the purchase of 609 Main at Texas site centered on Main Street being central to all downtown amenities and transit,” John Mooz, senior managing director in Hines’ Southwest Regional office, told CultureMap.

Experts believe Hines is close to signing a major corporation to lease a sizable chunk of the building and have the building completed by late 2016.

“Over the past four years, the Class AA tenant market has validated BG Group Place as a striking new business address. Additionally, other owners are also voting with significant investments that Main Street is a top of mind location.”

Mooz said Hines has just begun seriously marketing the building to corporations and realty brokers who specialize in office leasing. In the demand for more office space demands it, Hines can adjust and make the building taller than 41 stories, Mooz said.

The office market in downtown is very tight with most major towers having little or no vacant space. Companies that need big blocks of office space have few options.

The proposed Hines tower would have the Metro rail running right by it and the building would be in easy walking distance of the Theater District and Minute Maid Park.

Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is editor-in-chief of RealtyNewsReport.com

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