Landlord brings ‘people-first’ environment with office portfolio renovation

Austin-based CapRidge Partners revealed details about the upcoming renovation and rebranding of three recently acquired office buildings on the fringe of the exclusive Memorial Villages.

The portfolio, totaling 541,000 square feet, is about three miles west of the Galleria and just over four miles from Memorial City Mall. The 1616 S. Voss and 7500 San Felipe buildings will be rebranded as Memorial Tower I and Memorial Tower II, respectively, while nearby 6363 Woodway will be known as Woodway Tower.

“Now is the time for this portfolio to elevate its presence in the Memorial neighborhood, and we are thrilled to share the exciting changes,” Dan Terpening, director at CapRidge Partners, said in an announcement. “From extensive interior improvements to upgraded tenant amenity packages, the project will provide a connected, engaging and people-first environment for our tenants.”

CapRidge, which purchased the buildings from a partnership of Unilev Capital Corp. in March, tapped Stream Realty Partners to handle leasing and marketing of the project. Stream’s Craig McKenna and Matthew Asvestas have been tasked with finding tenants.

The location next to some of the Houston area’s most exclusive neighborhoods, such as Tanglewood and the Memorial Villages, is between two office submarkets, Asvestas said. It competes with the Memorial City submarket, which has an overall vacancy of 5.7 percent, and the Galleria submarket, where vacancy stands at 17.5 percent.

Construction is scheduled to begin in January and wrap up in the summer of 2020. The project team includes Abel Design Group as lead designer, Clark Condon as the landscape architect and O’Donnell/Snider Construction as the general contractor. The renovation budget was not disclosed.

Related: Galleria-area building owner leverages the lobby in renovation

The interiors will get new finishes and seating areas in the lobbies, enhanced amenities such as a different dining option each day from Fooda, and Avenue C market, updated restrooms and elevator cabs. An activity lawn for events is planned between the Memorial Tower buildings and shaded seating areas and outdoor meeting spaces are also envisioned.

The renovation is designed to create more areas for tenants to collaborate, whether for a makeshift meeting in the lobby or outdoors, Asvestas said.

The portfoliohas gained a few tenants since March according to Stream. The 1616 S. Voss building is 70 percent leased, 7500 San Felipe is 78 percent leased and 6363 Woodway is 88 percent leased.

CapRidge Partners, which invests in well-located office buildings that can be purchased below replacement cost in nine U.S. markets, has purchased 41 buildings since 2012. The company owns two other Houston office buildings: 12012 Wickchester and Briar Forest Crossing, at 1300 W. Sam Houston Parkway.

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Houston tech company to begin build-out of new Upper Kirby headquarters

Houston-based Pros Holdings Inc., one of the city’s largest technology companies, is preparing to begin construction on the build-out of its new headquarters in Upper Kirby.

Building permits issued by the city of Houston say that Pros Inc. (NYSE: PRO) plans to spend $12.4 million to complete the build-out of 10 floors at 3200 Kirby Drive, which is part of the mixed-use development known as Kirby Collection.

According to the permits, Pros Inc. plans to renovate floors four through 10, as well as floors two, 12 and 13.

The permits say that the build-out of floor four will include a dining facility, while floor five will have a lounge area and floor six will include a conference center.

The permits were issued to Houston-based O’Donnell/Snider Construction.

Houston Business Journal has reached out to Pros Inc. and O’Donnell/Snider Construction for additional comment.

Pros Inc. announced its plan to move its corporate headquarters into 118,000 square feet at 3200 Kirby last December, marking one of the largest office leases signed in 2018. The company employed around 580 people in Houston as of 2018 and is one of the city’s most prominent tech companies.

Last year, Pros Inc. was the sole software company to participate in a nine-company partnership to invest $25 million in the HX Venture Fund. The HX Venture Fund is dedicated to attracting more early-stage tech firms and venture capitalists to Houston.

Kirby Collection is composed of a 186,000-square-foot office building, which is fully leased; a luxury multifamily tower with 199 units; and 65,000 square feet of retail. The 1 million-square-foot, $125 million project was developed by New York-based Thor Equities and was in late 2017. E.E. Reed Construction was the general contractor for Kirby Collection. Richard Keating Architecture was the design architect, Dianna Wong Architecture + Design was the interior designer, and Houston-based Kirksey was the architect of record. Walter P Moore was the structural engineer, and Houston-based Wylie was the MEP engineer.

In addition to Pros Inc., Kirby Collection tenants include Moscow-based Lukoil, which signed a 5,900-square-foot lease in February 2018; Mississippi-based Hancock Whitney Bank; Houston-based Novum Energy Trading Inc.; and Jacksonville, Florida-based Regency Centers (NYSE: REG).

Pinstripes, a bistro, bowling and bocce chain, was the first retail tenant to sign on at Kirby Collection. The 33,830-square-foot venue opened in October.

Last November, Dakota, a new high-end restaurant and lounge, announced it was moving into the development.

Office tenants at Kirby Collection have access to a rooftop putting green and lounge, according to marketing materials for the building.

Photos: Look inside downtown Houston’s 2-story steakhouse opening this week

Guard and Grace is almost ready to open.

The long-awaited Houston outpost of Troy Guard’s popular Denver steakhouse will open Nov. 19. It’s the first venture outside of Denver for Guard’s Tag Restaurant Group.

Click through the slideshow above to see the completed Guard and Grace restaurant and some of the menu items it will offer.

The restaurant is located in a 15,000-square-foot “glass box” portion of Brookfield Properties’ recently transformed One Allen Center tower at 500 Dallas St. downtown.

The Houston Guard and Grace is nearly twice the size of the Denver location and spans two floors as well as a patio. Inside, the restaurant seats 236, with 188 in the main dining room, 36 at the full-service bars and 12 in the private “Board Room.” Upstairs, another private dining room seats 88 or can hold 120 for a cocktail reception. It can be divided up into three rooms, each with a television. The 4,000-square-foot patio won’t open until 2020.

Three kitchens, two for the main dining area and one for the private area, service the restaurant, and there are four bars, including one for the patio.

A temperature-controlled wine cellar will have wine lockers where guests can store their own bottles. The cellar will have capacity for 6,858 bottles.

The menu is set to include items like a filet mignon flight — with four ounces each of wagyu, prime and angus steak — a seafood tower and an extravagant fajita-style dish with wagyu, caviar and gold-speckled tortillas that costs $400, alongside more down-to-earth items like a prosciutto flight, fried quail and Alaskan black cod.

“The road to Guard and Grace has been a journey,” Guard said in previous press release. “This is such a special city not just for excellent dining, but for great chefs who have become friends and welcomed us so graciously. We feel so lucky to be this close to unveiling the project, and I can’t wait to introduce Houston to Guard and Grace.”

Nikki Guard serves as the co-owner and beverage director for Guard and Grace. Daniel Virola is the executive chef, and Andrew Ojeda is the general manager. The sommelier on staff is Lexey Davis Johnson.

Nick Hernandez and Crystal Allen of Transwestern’s Houston Retail Services Group represented Brookfield in the lease. Guard represented Tag Restaurant Group. Houston-based construction firm O’Donnell/Snider Construction built out the restaurant space, while Denver-based BOSS.architecture served as the architect and interior designer.

Initially, Guard and Grace’s hours will be Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A lunch menu and social hour will debut Dec. 2. That lunch period will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday with the social hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.