01 April 2010

Raytheon Shopping for Big Texas Office Space

The Dallas News

A high-profile office tenant is shopping for a big block of space in Dallas' northern suburbs.

International defense and high-tech conglomerate Raytheon Corp. is looking for potential locations for consolidating its Dallas-area offices, real estate brokers say.

The deal would encompass several hundred thousand square feet of space and would be one of the largest in the Dallas area in the last year.

Raytheon already looked at moving into part of the former headquarters of Electronic Data Systems, which is now a unit of Hewlett-Packard. But a transaction to take over a large portion of the EDS headquarters building in the Legacy business park fell through, real estate agents familiar with the deal said.

Raytheon is now considering office locations in the Telecom Corridor, including Nortel's buildings along U.S. Highway 75 near Campbell Road.

Officials with Massachusetts-based Raytheon wouldn't confirm that the company is hunting for office space. But they didn't rule it out.

"We stay abreast of opportunities in the market," Raytheon spokesman Keith Little said. "We don't discuss specific properties that we may be considering."

Real estate brokers say the EDS headquarters and Nortel buildings are logical choices for a company that needs a big office in Dallas' northern suburbs.

Both companies have reduced the amount of space they use in the Dallas area in recent years, and Nortel is in bankruptcy.

"Yes, we have been talking to companies about the Richardson space," said Nortel spokesperson Jamie Moody. "And, just like we're selling off all our businesses, we are also selling our assets, including real estate, so that we can recover the greatest value in the interest of our creditors."

Despite a real estate downturn that has left acres of North Texas' office space sitting empty, there are few prime vacant offices as big as Raytheon would need.

"For spaces 200,000 and up, your options are fairly limited," said Greg Biggs of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas. "We are working on a transaction in North Dallas that's fairly sizable, and the amount of existing space available is fairly limited in big blocks."

Raytheon has operations in several Dallas-area locations, including on U.S. Highway 75 north of LBJ Freeway, farther north in McKinney and on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas.

Unlike in previous economic downturns, the area isn't awash in vacant Dallas apartments or office space. That's why some companies – including Pizza Hut – have recently chosen to build.

"We don't have all the see-through [empty] buildings we had here in the early 1990s," said Greg Langston, managing principal in CresaPartners' Dallas office. "One thing we didn't do is overbuild this time."

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