HOUSTON – As the first phase of a major development, Third Palm Capital has engaged Boxer Property to repurpose and lease the existing office buildings on the former Exxon Mobil Chemical headquarters campus in Houston’s Energy Corridor.
Christened Republic Square, the 35-acre project is located on Interstate 10, west of Eldridge Road adjacent to Terry Hershey Park.
After purchasing the campus from Exxon Mobil Corp. for $72 million in late 2013, Third Palm – the sole owner of the property – leased back the campus to ExxonMobil through April 2015. It is one of the properties vacated by Exxon Mobil when the energy firm built its new 3 million SF campus on the north side of Houston.
In the future, Republic Square will have hotels, office buildings, multifamily and retail development, says Third Palm, which is controlled by Dart Enterprises, a Cayman Islands firm. A rapid decline in oil prices derailed a number of projects in the Energy Corridor, however, and Houston office vacancy has soared. The Houston office market is flooded with sublease space and the city’s office availability rate is at its highest point in 20 years, according to CBRE.
“Our vision for Republic Square remains intact, but given changes in the market, the rollout of new buildings will be adjusted to meet demand,” according to Randall Tuller, executive manager for Third Palm Capital. “Boxer Property has helped us to realize the immediate value of this one-of-a-kind holding, and at this time, we’re looking forward to bringing new life to a dynamic pair of thoughtfully designed buildings, while beginning to create a sense of community and place with amenities and programming that take advantage of an irreplaceable setting.”
The Republic Square campus, 13501 Katy Freeway, is heavily wooded with prime frontage along both Memorial Drive and I-10. Previously, the property had been largely secluded under Exxon’s high-security protocols.
Current amenities on the 35-acre site include a central lake, 20,000-SF meeting and event center, and Republic Square I, a 320,000-SF office building with commissary kitchen.
Houston-based Boxer Property has been awarded the leasing and management assignment and is overseeing a program of enhancements to introduce these facilities to a diverse mix of tenants of all sizes, as well as neighbors and guests, later this summer.
In anticipation of the debut, preparations are underway to open Republic Square’s park-like grounds with central lake to the public. The existing building being reimagined to support tenants of all sizes, as well as collaborative work spaces.
“Our team is extremely excited to be aligned with Republic Square. Boxer Property has a long track record of maximizing value by applying accretive capital to produce thriving office environments,” said Stephen Kradjian, head of Asset Management at Boxer Property. “We’re eager to unveil Republic Square I, capitalize upon the inherent strengths of existing facilities and assist Third Palm build demand for future development.”
Current exterior work to Republic Square encompasses improving visibility and accessibility off Interstate 10 and Memorial Drive, the addition of a surface parking lot along Memorial to service the meeting and events center and beautification of the mature grounds, including the removal of overgrowth and fencing to provide a clear path from the BP campus on the western perimeter through Republic Square to Terry Hershey Park on the east.
The majority of interior updates are being focused on Republic Square I. The building’s striking and expansive lobby, which leads to a glass-walled lake overlook, and its gallery-like, outdoor-oriented public areas are being renovated. Boxer Property will also introduce its signature Workstyle collaborative space featuring common area lounges, meeting spaces, coffee bars and Wi-Fi.
Third Palm Capital, the owner and developer of Republic Square, has over $750 million in assets and active investments in New York, California, Florida, and Texas.
July 18, 2016