TX Real Estate Firms See Windfall in New Assignments
HOUSTON—JPMorgan Asset Management
spent much of late January and early
February outsourcing leasing and management for the nearly nine-million-square-foot
office portfolio it once co-owned with
Crescent Real Estate Holdings LLC. In
October 2011, JP Morgan bought out the
Crescent stake, with the original plan focused
on retaining Crescent Real Estate to continue leasing and managing the assets.
JPMorgan, however, has awarded leasing
and management assignments for the 1.2-
million-square-foot Fountain Place in Dallas
and the 1.3-million-square-foot Post Oak
Central in Houston to Cassidy Turley.
Meanwhile, CBRE’s Houston office won
the assignment to handle the 4.2-million-
square-foot Houston Center and Fulbright
Tower, with Stream Realty Partners LP
tapped to reposition and fill the 1.2-million-
square-foot Trammell Crow Tower, located
in Dallas. As of now, the 1.1-million-square-
foot Crescent Office Towers in Dallas is
being leased and managed in-house.
Corporate Consolidation Drives Deals in Dallas-Fort Worth
Late last year, something happened at Fossil Inc. that had never
happened before. A few members of its creative team were able to
meet with a couple of folks from the finance department.
Without scheduling anything in advance. Without getting into
their cars. Without crossing a major highway.
That’s because, for the first time in its 28-year
history, the Richardson, TX-based consumer
fashion company has all of its employees under
one roof. In
a trend of corporate consolidations that pervaded the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market
last year—Fossil decided to lease 535,000
square feet in a single office building in
Richardson. Previously, its executive and creative teams were in one
building on one side of a major highway, and a different building
housed its finance and IT functions.
Now, Fossil’s headquarters are in a newly redeveloped property
with an interior layout designed specifically to meet Fossil’s
needs. Each floor features an open plan to invite teamwork, and
there are now as many lounges—specifically designed for
impromptu meetings—as traditional conference rooms. With all
employees together in the same building, the company has been
able to achieve its major goal when it began to evaluate its commercial real estate situation several years ago: collaboration.
Collaboration and consolidation were a recurring theme in the
Dallas-Fort Worth office market in 2011. Corporate users were
more active than they had been in 2009 or 2010 but, by and large,
they were still seeking efficiency in terms of square footage, lease
By Steve Van Amburgh
rate and energy usage. While Fossil was the largest lease signed in
our market last year, other local corporations expanded, relocated or developed new buildings in pursuit of collaboration.
Ericsson leased 260,000 square feet in Richardson, enabling
the company to expand by 60,000 square feet in its current building; Alcon Labs signed the largest lease in Tarrant County ( 90,000
feet) in part to allow for the collaboration between employees
from Fort Worth and Atlanta; and another Encana—a Canadian
oil and gas company—decided to house its mid-continent business unit in a new 320,000-square-foot build-to-suit in Plano.
Housing employees under one roof is not enough, however, to
ensure a happy and growing employee base. Proximity to plentiful amenities is crucial to attracting new talent and maximizing
existing employees’ productivity. This is especially true in the
DFW market, as the three submarkets that performed the best
last year in terms of absorption and rental growth were the three
with the best amenity base: Uptown, Preston Center and Plano.
Amenities were a specific driver for Encana, which deliberately sought out a mixed-use environment when evaluating sites
for its new development. KDC is currently developing a 12-story
high-rise that sits in the midst of one of the area’s most thriving
mixed-use settings—the Legacy Town Center. Encana’s new
building, which will house 1,000 employees, is on track for
completion later this year. We expect more corporate users to
continue the consolidation trend in 2012, as they seek enhanced
collaboration, improved recruiting and retention and higher
levels of productivity.
Steve Van Amburgh is CEO of KDC, based in Dallas. He may be contacted at
email@example.com. The views expressed here are the author’s own.
Vital Signs... The median price for land in Greater Phoenix last year was $1.12 psf; it shot up to $1.38 in H2 of 2011.—Colliers International
14 REAL ESTATE FORUM FEBRUARY/MARCH 2012