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Carlyle JV to develop ‘green’ project in Houston

The private equity firm is developing two LEED-specific office buildings in the fast-growing Houston property market.

The Carlyle Group and Texas-based real estate services and investment firm Means Knaus Partners have formed a joint venture to develop the $75 million, 300,000-square-foot One Oak Park & Two Oak Park complex in the Westchase submarket of West Houston.

Oak Park is scheduled to break ground in January 2008 with first-phase occupancy set for December 2008.

“We’re pleased to partner with Means Knaus on this significant project in a prime location,” Carlyle principal Tommy Ellis said in a statement. “Houston has strong economic fundamentals led by employment growth and good supply/demand dynamics. We see solid fundamentals for all sectors — office, hotel, industrial, retail and industrial – and expect that Carlyle will add to its investment portfolio in Houston.”

The first phase in the project will be a 150,000-square-foot, six-story office and garage complex. The “green” developments will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications.

Features include designs such as “Low-E” (low-emittance) glass on building exteriors, which reject infrared light and create a “cool, energy-saving environment.”

Development of the corporate center at Oak Park will also include a courtyard, pedestrian plaza and landscape design incorporating the park’s natural environment.