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Houston's office construction is soaring

Energy companies’ building spree pushes this market to new heights.

October 06, 2014 |
Photo: Spacecaptain via Wikimedia Commons

Houston has 19 million sf of office space under construction, 54% more than a year ago, and its highest level since the booming 1980s, according to local news reports.

Nearly 40% of this new office space is corporately owned, according to the Houston Business Journal, which points specifically to a 3-million-sf campus being built by Exxon Mobil, a 1.1-million-sf campus in Westchase suburb by Phillips 66, and a 515,000-sf building that Southwestern energy is erecting.

New building begets higher land prices. CBRE research estimates that land values throughout the Houston metroplex are increasing strongly. For example, land prices in the Uptown/Galleria area range from $125 to $315 per square foot in the second quarter, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Construction workers are also benefiting from all of this activity. The Associated General Contractors of America says that Houston added more construction jobs that any major metro in the U.S. from August 2013 to August 2014.  Houston’s employment in all business sectors has jumped by 10% since 2008, or twice the percentage in San Francisco, according to The Daily Beast.

The Business Journal reports that 10.8 million sf of office space are on schedule to be delivered by year’s end, a sizable jump over the 3.2 million sf delivered in 2013.

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