Hines Hires Jones Lang to Sell 64-Story Tower in Houston

Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. hired broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to sell Williams Tower, a 64-story Houston office building it bought for $271.5 million four years ago.

The 1.4 million-square-foot (130,000-square-meter) tower is more than 95 percent leased to tenants that include energy companies Williams Cos. and Rowan Cos., as well as Hines, which sponsors the public, non-traded Hines REIT. The Houston-based parent company developed the tower in 1983, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Williams Tower is a special asset to Hines REIT and Hines,” Hines REIT Chief Executive Officer Charles Hazen said in the statement. “We believe that the time is right to sell this asset and generate returns for our investors.”

Demand for well-leased office buildings in major U.S. cities has been high as investors seek the stronger returns and perceived safety of commercial real estate.

The average price paid for office buildings in Houston fell to $189 per square foot in the first half of 2012, down 5 percent from a year earlier, according to New York-based researcher Real Capital Analytics Inc. Transactions involving such properties fell 19 percent to $941 million in the city.

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