While some companies reduce their office footprints, one law firm is bucking the post-pandemic trend in downtown Houston.
Commercial law firm Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr has doubled its office space in Houston’s Pennzoil Place high-rise to more than 40,800 square feet, spanning two floors, the company announced April 19. The law firm’s lease highlights the returning demand for office space as the market shows signs of recovery after a two-year slump.
“We were quickly growing and wanted to find a space for true integration, collaboration, and long-term success,” Phil Appenzeller Jr., CEO of Munsch Hardt, said in a statement. “While many firms were reducing in size over the pandemic, we had the opposite problem.”
The law firm executed a lease extension for its previous office space across one floor in Pennzoil Place’s north tower and added a second floor, making room for 80 attorney offices total. Miller LaPoint Construction is general contractor for Munsch Hardt’s office buildout, and Gensler is the architect.
Pennzoil Place, a Hines development, consists of two 36-story trapezoidal towers of dark tinted glass connected by a courtyard. It’s been an iconic fixture in downtown Houston’s skyline since it was completed in 1975. At publication time, the north tower was 53 percent leased and the south tower was almost 62 percent leased, a Stream Realty spokesperson confirmed.
Stream’s Adam Ross, Craig McKenna, Ryan Barbles and Kristin Wall represented Munsch Hardt in the deal. Tyler Garrett with Transwestern represented the landlord.
In the first quarter of 2022, the Houston metro area ended an eight-quarter streak of falling office occupancy and recorded positive net absorption of more than 22,300 square feet, according to JLL. Vacancy was roughly 28 percent, and the quarter ended with almost 600,000 square feet under construction, 43 percent of which is pre-leased.
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