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FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Oncor, a locally based energy distribution and transmission company, has renewed its lease at The Oncor Building, a 300,000-square-foot office building located at 115 W. 7th St. in downtown Fort Worth. Oncor signed a new agreement to occupy 201,354 square feet of the building for a 10-year term. The company completed the renewal 3 years before its current lease was set to expire.

As part of the renewal agreement, Oncor will immediately vacate the 22,000-square-foot ground floor of the building so that it can be converted into retail space. The building’s owner, White Plains, N.Y.-based Benbrooke Realty Investment Co., plans to install floor-to-ceiling windows and new canopies as a way to enhance the building’s streetscape. Local and national tenants will be targeted for retail and restaurant uses.

George Ackerman and Mike Oestreich provided in-house representation for Benbrooke during lease negotiations. Local Benbrooke partner Craig Gutow will lead the retail redevelopment and leasing efforts. Mark O’Donnell, executive vice president of commercial real estate firm Studley, provided advising services to Oncor.

Benbrooke first acquired The Oncor Building in September 2007. The renewal of the anchor tenant allows the company to secure its tenant roster before the company’s debt obligation is scheduled to come due in 2011, the same time as Oncor’s original lease end date. O’Donnell says that Oncor’s continued occupancy at the property was critical to the landlord, and the tenant leveraged that need to gain favorable lease terms in exchange for a longer lease. By reducing its footprint, Oncor will also be able to operate more efficiently, which will reduce costs for the company and its customers.

“There is an overall demand to be more efficient right now,” O’Donnell says, adding that office tenants nationwide are finding new ways to lower costs in the current economy.

— Coleman Wood

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