The Flight to Quality Lands in Westchase | WESTCHASE DISTRICT

bechtel building at citywest place in westchase district houston

Westchase District emerged as the leader for office leasing activity in the first quarter of 2024. According to the Q1 2024 Houston Office Market Report by Colliers, while overall leasing activity in the city experienced a 17.3% drop from the previous quarter, the Westchase submarket stood out, accounting for 14% of the total leasing activity.

Danny Rice, president of Colliers Houston, noted the trend, stating, “Houston’s overall office market continues to experience a soft leasing environment with Class A product on the west side winning the majority of the activity. This post-pandemic trend continues as companies evaluate their offices amid evolving return-to-work policies to deliver locations closer to where employees live.” In the first quarter alone, three significant companies relocated their headquarters to Westchase District: Bechtel, Noble Corporation, and Enstor Gas.

Apache headquarters building in westchase district HoustonThis comes on the heels of several other recent relocations to Westchase District. In November 2022, Apache Corp. leased 118,000 square feet, expanding its offices in BriarLake Plaza. “We are excited to move our corporate headquarters to BriarLake Plaza,” Mark Maddox, Apache’s senior vice president of administration, said in an announcement at the time. “The customized space we will build out will facilitate employee connection, reduce drive times for the majority of our employees, and enhance the employee workplace experience.” Today, you can see the Apache sign from the West Sam Houston Tollway and employees are reporting to the new headquarters in phases.

Houston-based Mattress Firm also announced in April 2023 that it is relocating its corporate headquarters to Westchase, leasing 55,855 square feet at 3250 Briarpark Drive.



Moving to where employees live

The momentum in Westchase District continues to underscore the flight to quality seen in recent years as businesses prioritize accessibility and amenities for their employees. In 2023, Tyler Garrett, head of agency leasing for JLL in Houston, highlighted the momentum of Houston’s west side since the end of the pandemic, calling it one of the hottest submarkets in the country. “As Greater Houston’s population center continues to move northwest, part of this trend has to do with companies moving closer to where their employees live,” Garrett explained.

Irma Sanchez, president and CEO of Westchase District, added, “We regularly hear from businesses that they moved to Westchase District because of how much closer it is to where their employees live. Having a convenient location and shorter commute not only helps with retention, but also with recruiting new talent.” This trend is evident with the two of the newest additions to Westchase District, Noble Corporation, and Bechtel.

More businesses choose Westchase District

Paul Marsden, president of Bechtel Energy (pictured holding scissors) and other representatives from Bechtel participate in the ribbon cutting of their new headquarters in Westchase District.

Bechtel, whose new sign can also be seen from the West Sam Houston Tollway, celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters in Westchase District on March 28, 2024. Bechtel said its new offices in CityWestPlace provide necessary options to expand its team in Houston, where the company currently has more than 1,800 employees. Contractor O’Donnell/Snider Construction was chosen to handle the renovation of Bechtel’s new 285,000-square-foot office space in two buildings. “After more than 40 years in our current location, we are excited for our relocation to CityWestPlace, where all buildings are Energy Star Labeled and boast LEED Gold certification,” Paul Marsden, president of Bechtel Energy, said in a statement. “CityWestPlace offers the space, cutting-edge technologies, and facilities necessary to support our expanding business and the needs of our employees.”

Continuing the migration, Noble Corporation is bidding farewell to its Sugar Land headquarters after two decades and moving to Westchase District. Noble sought a fresh, modern workspace to seamlessly merge with Maersk Drilling, which they acquired in 2022. Securing a substantial lease at 2101 CityWest Blvd, Noble partnered with Savills, who claimed that the 110,250-square-foot lease was among the biggest direct new leases signed in the first quarter of 2024. Mark O’Donnell, president of Savills Texas Region, highlighted the strategic significance of Westchase, noting, “Location played a major factor in guiding Noble on where to place its new headquarters. For hiring future talent, it would seem to be a much better location to draw from, and they do have significant growth plans for the future.”

CityWest Place in Westchase District Houston

Noble plans to invest $15 million in renovating its new headquarters, with work slated to commence in July and wrap up by December. Chris Wolf, external communications manager for Noble Corp, outlined their phased relocation plan, emphasizing the centrality of Westchase to their employees. “We evaluated a commuting ‘heat map’ of our current employees, and Westchase proved to be right in the center,” Wolf explained. The transition will begin with the headquarters staff moving in by January 2025, followed closely by the NobleAdvances team.

“Companies appreciate the care and attention they receive from our management team and employees love our public safety program, landscaping, cleanliness, parks, trails, and restaurants,” Sanchez explained. “Businesses are choosing to come here for building amenities and a convenient location, but they are staying here because of all Westchase District offers.”

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