HOUSTON, TX - A joint venture of Dallas-based Novati Group and an affiliate of the General Electric Pension Trust, advised by GE Asset Management, announced today the purchase of Bank of America Center in downtown Houston from Hines.
Designed by noted architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee, two of the 20th century's most celebrated architects, the 1.3 million square foot office tower is located at 700 Louisiana Street and was developed by Hines in 1983.
“We are delighted to join with the General Electric Pension Trust in this noteworthy acquisition,” stated Kenneth S. Moczulski, CEO of Novati Group. “Bank of America Center is one of the most successful office developments in the country. Recognized as an architectural icon on the Houston skyline, it has historically led the downtown Houston market in terms of occupancy and rental rate for over 20 years, a position we intend to maintain.”
“The purchase of Bank of America Center in Houston is a strategic investment for the pension trust,” commented Jerry Karr, managing director of GE Asset Management, exclusive real estate advisor to the General Electric Pension Trust. “It represents a solid contribution to our objective of owning outstanding real estate assets in primary markets as we continue to expand our portfolio across the US, in Europe and Asia.”
Houston-based PM Realty Group has been appointed exclusive leasing agent for the property. John Spafford, senior vice president and director of leasing for the firm's Houston office, will oversee all leasing activities for the account.
“Bank of America represents a world class project and we are extremely proud to be awarded such a prestigious assignment" said Spafford. "This landmark building has defined the Downtown Houston skyline for many years."
Ownership has retained Hines as the management representative for the building.
Designed by the world-renowned architectural team of Philip Johnson and John Burgee, the building was developed by Gerald Hines and completed in 1983. The building's exterior is sheathed in rough textured granite stone in a deep russet color, known as Napoleon Red, which was quarried in Sweden and finished in Italy. The surrounding sidewalks are composed of the same granite used for the building. The building has a steeply pitched, gabled roofline accented by spires. The sculptured metal obelisks rise from every roof level that consist of lead coated copper, as are all the roof surfaces, creating a unique silhouette and dramatic coloring.
Rising 56 stories high, Bank of America Center is comprised of two buildings. The 56-story office tower fronts Smith Street while the smaller banking hall fronts Louisiana Street. The tower is divided by two major setbacks into three segments, giving it the appearance of three adjoining buildings, measuring at its largest points 777 feet high by 110 feet wide. The expansive banking hall is approximately 12 stories high at the peak of its gabled roof, but contains only two inside levels. It creates a street level presence that echoes the detailing of the tower. Its ample proportions are articulated in a recurring theme of arches that make the banking hall an important design feature. Rising to a height of 128 feet, the interior of the banking is flooded with natural light from skylights that run the full 250-foot length of the structure. By virtue of its unique design, Bank of America Center is able to offer floors which range in size from less than 5,000 square feet at the peak of the building to more than 30,000 square feet on the lower floors.
Each of the 32 passenger elevators in Bank of America Center is finished with rare and beautiful wood panels. The hardwood finishes were precisely selected by the architects and include English Brown Oak, Burl, Curly Maple, Birdseye Maple, Tamo, Macassar, Ebony, English Walnut, Alpine Burl, Ash Burl, Italian Willow and Kevazingo woods.
The ground level of Bank of America Center is divided into two arcades. The major arcade runs east and west through the first five floors while the minor arcade runs north and south between the Banking Hall and the Office Tower. At the grand intersection of the lobby arcades stands a four-faced 18' high Seth Thomas clock. Originally custom designed for a jewelry company in Waycross, Georgia, the clock was built in 1914 at a cost of 0. The clock is made of cast iron sections, and was restored to its original condition for Bank of America Center. An application of 24K gold leaf was added to highlight its detail. Still utilizing its original crank mechanism, a 180-pound drive weight and pendulum movement, the clock is wound every 5 days. With fewer than 300 of these clocks ever built, its four faces look out towards each of the four entrances into the Bank of America Center lobby.
Total Size: 1,268,480 net rentable square feet, 92.9% leased Class A office with ground level banking hall and thirteen levels of parking in the Alley Center Garage
Bank of America Center Alley Theatre Garage
Location: 700 Louisiana Street, 615 Texas Street
Number of Stories: 56 stories 16 stories
Total Vacant Space: 90,075 SF (7.1%)
Largest Contiguous Vacancy: 23,829 Square Feet
Lobby Retail: Bank of America retail lobby banking center
Tunnel Retail: Sundries shop, sandwich shop, and coffee/breakfast/snacks shop
Bank of America Center's location in the heart of the Theater District provides an unparalleled amenity base, anoramic Views, On-site amenities include immediate access to the vast underground pedestrian tunnel system, multiple restaurant and deli selections at the tunnel level, and a newsstand. An on-site parking facility provides tenant executives and visitors direct access to the building and tunnel system. The tunnel system also connects to the 966-space Alley Theatre Parking Garage. Vehicular ingress and egress to all of the major community freeways, including Highway 59 and Interstates 10 and 45, is easily accessible.
About Novati Group
The Novati Group (“Novati”) is a Dallas-based asset management firm focused on real estate and alternative investment strategies. Novati was launched, in early 2007, with a sponsoring investment by Moriah Investment Partners, by principals formerly of Hines, Crescent Real Estate Equities, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and CityView America, a CalPERS investment advisor.
Kenneth S. Moczulski, Chief Executive Officer
Kenneth S. Moczulski is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Novati Group. Mr. Moczulski has been involved in real estate development and investment since 1978 and, during that time, has developed, acquired and sold property with an aggregate value in excess of .9 billion. In 2000, Mr. Moczulski joined Crescent Real Estate Equities, as its President, Investments and Chief Investment Officer. During his tenure at Crescent, Mr. Moczulski was responsible for all of Crescent's acquisition, disposition and development activities. Since joining Crescent, Mr. Moczulski has been responsible for over billion in acquisitions, development projects in excess of 0 million, and .1 billion of dispositions. In early 1992, Mr. Moczulski established Transworld Properties, the real estate subsidiary of Transworld Oil, to invest in real estate through joint venture development of office, industrial and multi-family projects. At Transworld, Mr. Moczulski was responsible for the formation and implementation of real estate investment strategy, as well as the management of on-going real estate development, asset management and dispositions. He directed the investment of over 5 million of the firm's equity, representing a portfolio with a capitalized value of approximately billion. Prior to joining Transworld, Mr. Moczulski served as vice president of Jaymont Properties in New York City from 1987 to 1991, where he was responsible for all of their acquisition and disposition activities on a national basis. Prior to joining Jaymont, Mr. Moczulski was with Gerald D. Hines Interests for eight years, where he served as development manager for a number of commercial developments such as Seafirst Financial Center, Dallas Galleria, and the 500 Boylston/222 Berkeley Street buildings in Boston. Mr. Moczulski holds an MBA from Harvard and a BS from the University of Cincinnati.
Fernando R. De León, Managing Partner
Fernando De Leon is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Novati Group. Prior to Novati, Mr. De Leon was a founding principal of CityView, and oversaw national deal-making efforts for that firm, while serving on the Fund's Investment Committee. The company is on track to invest approximately billion of institutional capital into urban residential projects in Austin, Dallas, Atlanta, Charleston, Denver and Chicago. Mr. De Leon served as Executive Vice President of CityView's predecessor, American CityVista, and had direct oversight for the firm's finance, marketing and land acquisition departments. His leadership roles included the creation of new business units (including the CityView America Fund) and a focus on working with neighborhood groups and public officials to secure entitlements. In partnership with national real estate operating companies, Mr. De Leon was responsible for developing over 21 projects in six cities. Prior to joining American CityVista, Mr. De Leon was with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York. He received his Economics degree from Harvard University.
Michael P. Williams, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel
Michael Williams is the Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel of The Novati Group. Mr. Williams is responsible for all legal and investment execution efforts, capital markets strategy and development, as well as the general administration of the firm. Mr. Williams is formerly of the international law firm, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he provided legal and advisory services to a series of FORTUNE 100 clients. Mr. Williams is also a former executive of the Houston Rockets organization, where he managed various team business operations. Mr. Williams is a Robert Toigo Fellow and Henry Luce Scholar. Finally, Mr. Williams is a magna cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, holds a Master of Arts degree from Yale University, a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Clifford M. Rudolph, Managing Director, Acquisitions
Clifford M. Rudolph has been in the real estate industry since 1983 and has been involved in the joint venture, acquisition, development and disposition of commercial properties in excess of 13 million square feet and with an aggregate value in excess of .0 billion. Clifford M. Rudolph joined Crescent Real Estate Equities in 2001 serving as vice president of investments. Prior to joining Crescent, Mr. Rudolph was a vice president of Transworld Properties, where he was responsible for the evaluation, underwriting and negotiation of commercial investment opportunities including acquisition of existing assets, joint venture development, and direct development. From 1989 through 1997, Mr. Rudolph was a vice president with Koll Real Estate Group (formerly Rubloff) in Houston. During this time, he was involved in investment evaluation, lease analysis, market research, and acquisition and disposition services. From 1983 through 1984, he served as project accountant with Gerald D. Hines Interests, where he was responsible for the financial and accounting functions of several major office projects throughout the country. Mr. Rudolph holds a degree in real estate and finance from the University of Texas and an MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas (Houston, Texas). Mr. Rudolf obtained his Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) status in 1995.
William L. McFarland, Director, Asset Management
Prior to joining Novati, William L. McFarland served at Colonial Properties Trust and led the operating and leasing efforts for the firm's Texas office portfolio as well as various sourcing, acquisition and development opportunities throughout the state. Before joining Colonial, Mr. McFarland served as vice president of asset management for Houston-based MetroNational Corporation where he had bottom line responsibility for the company's 0 million commercial and medical office building portfolio. Prior to assuming that position in 2004, Mr. McFarland was a senior vice president with the Trammel Crow Company where, in addition to overseeing operations and leasing at several Houston properties, he served as project manager fro the million capital renovation at Houston's Lakes on Post Oak. From 1996-2002 Mr. McFarland was a vice president of asset management for Transworld Properties with responsibility for operating and leasing the firm's commercial office portfolio. From 1989-1996 he was a vice president with Rubloff, Inc. (later Koll, Inc.) and operated office building portfolios in the Chicago Loop, Houston and the southwestern United States. From 1981-1989 Mr. McFarland was vice president with the Yarmouth Group and was responsible for property management operations initially in the southwest, then nationally. He started his real estate career in 1977, spending five years with Gerald D. Hines Interests in its property management division. Mr. McFarland holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Iowa and attended graduate school at the University of Denver. He is a Certified Property Manager.
About GE Asset Management
GE Asset Management Incorporated (“GEAM”) is the exclusive real estate advisor to the General Electric Pension Trust, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Electric Company. GEAM is a global asset manager with over 0 billion in assets under management, over billion of which is invested equity in real estate assets. GEAM and its predecessor organizations have been managing investments for GE's U.S. employee pension and benefits plans for more than 70 years. In 1988, GEAM began offering investment management products and services to investors outside GE, and today counts corporate and public plan sponsors, foundations, endowments, healthcare organizations, Taft-Hartley plans, insurance companies, and individual investors around the world as clients. Investment offerings cover all major asset classes, including U.S. and international equities, fixed income and alternative assets. GE Investment Distributors, Inc., Member NASD & SIPC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Asset Management Incorporated.
Hines is a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. With offices in 67 U.S. cities and 15 foreign countries, and controlled assets valued at approximately billion, Hines is one of the largest real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information.