The Houston office market had quite a month of January to start the year, at least in terms of major transactions and rumors of more to come. Yesterday, Anadarko Petroleum Corp‘s CEO James Hackett revealed in its 4Q 2009 Earnings Conference Call the independent oil and gas concern has acquired its previously leased headquarters campus building located in the Woodlands for $215 million. In a Houston Chronicle story reported by Nancy Sarnoff, Anadarko bought the building out from a synthetic lease — a financial structure allowing companies to have the tax benefits of owning real estate without having to list it on their books.
Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen said in a prepared statement,“With the current lease expiring in June, we felt this was an advantageous opportunity to purchase our campus in The Woodlands outright, as ownership should provide cost savings beyond what the traditional commercial lease affords,”
According to the Chronicle story, the acquisition which closed the end of January included Anadarko’s 30-story tower at 1201 Lake Robbins Drive, a mid-rise at 1200 Timberloch Place and a parking garage. Its buildings contain about 818,000 square feet and 232,000 square feet, respectively. The campus comprises 14.5 acres, allowing for expansion.
Anadarko relocated from the Greenspoint submarket in 2002 making the oil and gas company the single largest employer in the Woodlands, a 28,000 acre master planned community 27 miles north of downtown Houston. Exxon Mobil is widely believed to be currently planning a consolidation of employees into a massive office campus to be developed along Interstate 45 just south of the Woodlands. Ironically it was Exxon who took over the previous Anadarko headquarters building in the Greenspoint area after Anadarko exited for the Woodlands.
This marks the second high profile office transaction in Houston in the past week. Last week engineering construction giant KBR announced it plans to scrap its west Houston campus plan and had completed a major renewal and expansion in downtown Houston.