Equastone acquires $382m office portfolio

Private equity firm Equastone expands its holdings in the Dallas market with a $382m purchase of Crescent Real Estate’s 3-million-square-foot office portfolio.

Equastone, the California-based private equity real estate firm, announced it has acquired a 13-building office portfolio in Dallas for $382 million (€279 million) from Texas-based REIT Crescent Real Estate Equities. The properties were acquired as part of the Equastone Value Fund II, which closed on April 30 with $172.5 million.

Comprising 13 office buildings totaling close to 3 million square feet, the portfolio also includes 43 acres of vacant land for development, making it one of the largest office deals in Texas so far this year. The properties are approximately 86 percent leased.

Equastone believes demand for office space in Dallas will continue to grow due to an increased number of corporate relocations, expansions, and new business startups.

“Dallas/Fort Worth is experiencing a period of broad-based employment expansion that is resulting in an increase in office space demand,” Jeff Schindler, chief investment officer, said in a statement.

“With strong job growth forecasted throughout 2007 and 2008, we expect to see continued uplift in rental rates and occupancy across all of the Dallas submarkets,” he continued. The firm has opened an office in Dallas with a team of real estate professionals.

In May 2007, Equastone announced it had acquired the Merit Centre portfolio in Dallas, which consisted of three office properties, totaling 295,440 square feet. The seller was Merit Texas Properties.

Equastone currently owns 9.4 million square feet across 59 office buildings throughout the US and plans to acquire $1 billion of new investments this year.