More than 20 companies will be the first to settle in at Republic Square I, a redevelopment of the previously secluded ExxonMobil Chemical campus on 35 acres by Third Palm Capital.
The leases are small, averaging about 1,000 square feet, and include oil and gas companies, financial firms, consultants and an event planner.
"Even though you've got a lot of vacant space in the Energy Corridor, these smaller companies have trouble even getting an appointment to see space," said Randall Tuller, executive manager for Third Palm Capital. "Most of the buildings are wanting to lease out whole floors."
Republic Square I, a four-story, 320,000-square-foot building at 13501 Katy Freeway, is being renovated in phases under the direction of Boxer Property. Early next year, the building will offer 20,000 square feet of co-working space with office suites, common area lounges and meeting spaces. Boxer Property is handling property management and leasing.
"We've gotten tremendous positive feedback," Tuller said. "Leasing velocity is way ahead of where we thought it would be right now."
The design of the building suits small tenants, Tuller said, although he also anticipates doing leases in the 10,000- to 20,000-square-foot range. The building has three levels of office space including a commercial kitchen and dining hall. There is covered parking on the fourth floor and in the basement. A separate one-story event center is also on site.
The building's landscaped courtyards and central lake were draws to DoMore Strategic Advisors.
"When I saw the view, I was sold," managing partner Lisbet Marquez said in an announcement.
Third Palm Capital is opening up the campus, which borders Terry Hershey Park west of Eldridge, to the community. ExxonMobil Chemical's fence has been taken down, and work is underway to make the parklike setting more inviting by adding lighting, pet stations and signs. The grounds are now open to the public, and future plans could include a weekend farmers market and a beer garden.
Third Palm Capital purchased the property in late 2013 from ExxonMobil Chemical, which moved out in April 2015. The property, which is bordered by Interstate 10 on the north and Memorial Drive on the south, is just east of BP's west Houston campus.
Long-range plans call for a hotel, office, multifamily and retail development.