Betting on the Woodlands

by CoyDavidson on October 24, 2010

Developer Announces Speculative Office Project in The Woodlands

Real Estate Developer Warmack Investments, the owner of 76 acres along Lake Woodlands has announced plans for 1.4 million square feet of office space in a new development that includes two office buildings currently leased to Hewitt Associates.

Including the Hewitt Buildings, Research Forest Lakeside consists of ten office buildings and convenience retail totaling over 1,798,398 square feet.

The first building will be developed on a speculative basis and contain 66,000 square feet in three stories when it projects to open approximately a year from now.

The architectural team of Ziegler Cooper and Odell Associates designed the master plan. ZC+O recently completed master planning and design services for a 76-acre, heavily-wooded site fronting Lake Woodlands. Read more on the: Ziegler Cooper Blog.

Research Forest Lakeside Master Plan

The Woodlands Office Market

Houston’s office market at the close of 3Q 2010 showed a slight improvement from the previous quarter, with a stronger performing suburban sector compared to the Central Business District. Despite some current softness in market fundamentals, The Woodlands has been one of the strongest performing suburban markets over the last several years. Speculation has swirled all year around Exxon Mobil’s land purchase just South of the Woodlands and the development of major corporate campus to consolidate thousands of employees from Houston and Fairfax, Virginia.

The Exxon Mobil project is widely believed to be happening in commercial real estate circles. Warmack’s bet on 66,000 square feet of speculative office development is not that risky given the historical strength of the Woodlands office market and the area’s projected the growth. The developer is betting that demand for office space will return to the Woodlands by the time the first building opens, and I tend to agree with that premise.

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