HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Brookfield Properties announced that Direct Energy LP has signed a lease for its corporate headquarters at 2 Houston Center, the Class A office tower located at 909 Fannin Street in downtown Houston.
Under the terms of the agreement, Direct Energy will have the largest office footprint at 2 Houston Center to date, leasing 105,578 SF of office space.
Direct Energy, one of North America’s largest retail providers of electricity and natural gas, with has 930 employees in Houston, will relocate to 2 Houston Center in April 2021.
The HQ move represents another departure from Greenway Plaza, the 52-acre, 4.9 million SF Inner Loop office park. Last summer Occidental Petroleum announced it was leaving Greenway Plaza and placing 814,000 SF on the sublease market.
For Brookfield, the Direct Energy lease can be presented as proof that the market is responding to its redevelopment of Houston Center. Brookfield recently announced it was undertaking a major redo of Houston Center, a massive downtown project that was showing its age. In late 2017, Brookfield paid $875 million for the 4.2 million SF Houston Center, knowing that significant investment would be required to prevent Houston Center from slipping toward Class B status. The redevelopment became mandatory as more new buildings emerge onto the market.
“Direct Energy’s decision to move to Houston Center reinforces the strength of the downtown submarket and the keen desire for a collaborative workplace located in an area with ample amenities for employees and guests,” said Travis Overall, Executive Vice President and Head of the Texas Region for Brookfield Properties. “Houston’s diversified economy and business climate continue to attract new companies to our city’s urban core, and we’re pleased with the opportunity to serve these great businesses.”
In January 2019, Brookfield announced plans for a major redevelopment of Houston Center, including a new arrival experience along McKinney Street with a new central plaza and greenspace, monumental stair connection to landscaped terraces, two-story glass façade, and reclad skybridges to foster street-level restaurant and retail activity. Construction began in February.
Direct Energy was represented in lease negotiations by Brandon Clarke, Paul Penland, Ryan Roth, Josh O’Rear, and Mark Reilly of CBRE. Brookfield Properties was represented by Doug Little, David Baker, Kelli Gault, and Jack Scharnberg of Transwestern, and Clint Bawcom of Brookfield Properties.
“We are very excited to relocate our headquarters and employees to downtown Houston. The energy behind the Houston Central Business Districts’ downtown revitalization plan, along with Brookfield Properties’ commitment to the redevelopment of 2 Houston Center, offer us the opportunity for a more engaging and collaborative work environment amid one of the most active parts of the Houston metro area. We are confident that becoming a member of this vibrant community, with first-rate live, work, play options, will help us retain and continue to attract the top talent essential to drive business growth” said A. Ron Lewis, Head of Real Estate and Facilities Management, Direct Energy.
Brookfield’s value in placemaking can also be seen through their recent redevelopment of One Allen Center, with future plans for complete lobby renovations for Two and Three Allen Center, as well as the transformation of C. Baldwin, formerly the Doubletree Hotel.