Exclusive: Houston investors quietly beef up $60M+ office portfolio

Stone Mountain Properties has been quietly assembling a portfolio of Class A office properties since 2007. This year alone, the Houston-based real estate co. has executed $60 million in office property acquisitions, and its most recent deal closed just weeks ago.

The company, led by James and LeeShan Birney, purchased the property at 12603 Southwest Freeway from Houston-based Griffin Partners for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed two weeks ago, they said, and the building is currently 86 percent occupied.

The acquisition caps off a flurry of Houston office acquisitions for Stone Mountain, the Birneys told the Houston Business Journal. In the past year, Stone Mountain Properties has acquired the following properties.

In October 2015, Stone Mountain purchased the 44,067- square-foot building at 2424 Wilcrest and the 109,793- square-foot building at 2500 Wilcrest from InSite Realty Partners. 2424 Wilcrest was purchased at 69 percent occupancy; 2500 Wilcrest is currently 98 percent occupied. In May 2016, the company purchased the 110,000-square-foot building at 10701 Corporate Drive and the building at 107070 Corporate Drive in Stafford. Those buildings were also owned by InSite. 

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The purchase prices weren't disclosed, but the total value of the properties is $60 million, said Bill McGrath of Land Park Advisors, the asset manager for Stone Mountain.

Stone Mountain is working to close its sixth acquisition before the year's end, its owners said. No information on the property was disclosed, but McGrath said the property is "right in the middle of the properties they currently own."

Land Park Commercial LLC, of which Land Park Advisors is an affiliate, exclusively markets all Stone Mountain buildings. McGrath has been advising the Birneys on the property purchases since 2013, when he was hired to take over all leasing and management for Stone Mountain. The Birneys only pursue off-market acquisitions, he said, and approach building owners privately with their interest.

"It's a long-term hold for them," MCGrath said. "We're not looking for value-add deals, where we renovate, reposition and it's a three- to five-year hold. Mr. and Mrs. Birney are building this portfolio for their children and grandchildren. With the off-market deals, you're not competing with other buyers."

Stone Mountain also owns the 84,935-square-foot building at 2550 Gray Falls in Westchase, the building at 3507 Briarpark in Westchase and a roughly 200,000-square-foot office warehouse building at 601 Westline. Those properties were purchased between 2006 and 2007.

Also, Stone Mountain plans to invest upward of $1 million into the property at 2550 Gray Falls in the beginning of 2017 to "dramatically change" the building's appearance, James Birney said.

Cara Smith
Houston Business Journal