Houston developer successfully pre-leases office space while oil companies vacate existing spaces

  • United Airlines is moving its Houston headquarters, while oil companies are shedding office space.
  • Hines will have an active year in Houston as it pertains to leasing office space and multifamily units.
  • Houston's office vacancy rate is expected to eclipse 21 percent this year.

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With Houston's overall office vacancy rate expected to exceed 21 percent this year, pre-leasing space will be of increased importance to developers with office projects underway. One Houston developer, Hines, appears to be in good shape. According to the Houston Business Journal, United Airlines has signed a lease for 225,000 square feet of space at the developer's 48-story office tower, which is under construction in downtown and slated for 2017 completion. United is said to employee 1,600 people in the city and is among downtown's largest employers. Hines' tower will feature a total of 1.05 million square feet., 62,000 of which will be occupied by international commercial law firm Kirkland & Ellis. The firm signed a lease last December. Combining United and Kirkland, Hines has already pre-leased at least 287,000 square feet. News of United moving its headquarters to Hines' building comes after several oil companies recently shed space in downtown. Shell Oil Co. put 3...