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Houston Office Space For Rent

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Houston, with a population of more than 2.3 million, is the seat of Harris County and the largest city in the nation by total area. Houston boasts 212.8 million square feet of total office inventory, making it the sixth-largest office market in the nation. In 2018, Houston had the seventh-highest GDP in the nation at $478.8 billion, trailing only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. While the energy industry reigns supreme and plays a significant role in dictating economic stability, a large portion of the remaining Houston office space market is occupied by technology, shipping, biomedical research, aeronautics, manufacturing, healthcare, e-commerce, and media companies.

What our brokers say about Houston office space

In Q4 of 2019, the Houston, Texas, office market achieved the most positive net absorption recorded in one quarter in the past two decades. Houston’s office market is typically dominated by changes in the oil and gas industry, and the energy downturn accounted for notable occupancy losses; direct vacancy was just above 20 percent at the end of the year, according to JLL’s office insights. The office market prognosis for Houston looks good, especially because of the addition of new mixed-use developments and the renovation of office buildings. In total, developers added 1.3 million square feet of office space to the City of Houston in 2019, and 3.7 million more square feet are still under construction.

When starting a search for office space in Houston, it’s important to understand what’s available, and the advantages and drawbacks of each type of lease.

Traditional Office Space for Rent in Houston

The majority of businesses operate best in a traditional office space. Look for traditional office properties in the Houston community if your business just wants a place to call home and to customize to align with your brand.

Advantages: Work directly with a landlord, privacy, customizable with a tenant improvement allowance.

Drawbacks: The typical lease commitment is 3-5 years. Limited options for businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

Houston Office Sublet

Smaller and earlier-stage businesses may struggle to find a traditional office location that checks off everything on their list due to size and lease duration commitments. Subleasing office space in Houston might be their best option. Most sublease space is in Class A buildings located in Houston’s top submarkets and is already built-out and furnished.

If you’re a fast-growing company, search for a subleasing opportunity. A sublease involves a less significant commitment than a traditional lease. Also, businesses can lease a larger space and sublease a portion to offset the costs until their team has grown (see office sharing below).

Advantages: You can sublease Class A office space for much less, with more flexibility on lease duration. Spaces are already built out and furnished.

Drawbacks: The previous tenant is your “landlord,” rather than a professional property management firm or landlord, limited employer branding opportunity, can’t make changes to the space to accommodate your needs.

Houston Coworking or Shared Office Space

One significant change in the global and Houston, Texas, commercial real estate markets is the rise of coworking and shared office space. While these options existed long before the recent notable players in the industry, market demand for flexibility and turnkey office setups has skyrocketed. While these options alleviate the mental energy of office maintenance, these are not always the most cost-friendly options. However, for many, coworking space or part of a shared office is an economical option for a business’s first office.

Advantages: Offset office infrastructure costs (office management, cleaning, receptionist, coffee, wifi, etc.), lease flexibility.

Drawbacks: Lack of privacy, no employer branding, convenience can come at a very steep price.

Houston office space | Lease data & trends

As of Q4 of 2019, Houston housed 169,963,275 square feet of office space with a total vacancy rate of 22.8%. A direct lease of office space in Houston (across the Metro area) costs an average of $31.60 per square foot. Pricing will vary significantly by neighborhood, building class, and lease terms. Also, office sublease prices are generally lower than a direct lease.

In Houston, Class A buildings rent for an average of $36.63 per square foot. Class B office space in Houston rents for an average of $21.90 per square foot. The city contains more than twice as much Class A office space as Class B office space.

Class A Office Space: Class A buildings in Houston are typically the newest, most modern, and most expensive spaces on the market, with a full slate of amenities. As a result, the tenants leasing Class A office space tend to be well-established, industry leaders. Large financial institutions, ad agencies, law firms and tech giants typically occupy Class A spaces. Common amenities include on-site building management and security, lobby attendants, modern HVAC systems, high-end IT infrastructure, and covered parking, to list a few.

Class B Office Space: What you may sacrifice in amenities and flash, you can make up for in price without having to sacrifice on location, accessibility and overall functionality. Class B offices in Houston with reputable landlords and property managers are excellent options for businesses focused on substance over style.

Vacancy Rate: Calculated as the amount of square footage available for lease divided by total square footage in the market or submarket, vacancy rate gives insight into how tight the competition is for space. Tighter competition usually means higher prices and fewer concessions from landlords.

Inventory: The total amount of square footage the market or submarket offers.

Houston Office Space for Rent | Average Cost per Square Foot

 

Houston office space for rentAverage Asking Rent PSF
Average$31.60
Class A$36.63

 

Getting around: Transportation in Houston

Houston, Texas, locals love to drive, and 90% of the workforce commutes by car. Three loop highways encircle the city: Beltway 8, State Highway 99, and Interstate 610. To avoid intense traffic on the Loop or the Sam Houston Tollway, many Houstonians live and work in the same neighborhood or live within a 30-minute drive to work. Nearly 50 car shares operate within Houston, and taking a taxi anywhere within the CBD only costs a $6 flat fare. Metered parking is available on most downtown streets.

Houston’s METRO has 28 Park & Ride lots throughout the city that provide a convenient connection to over 50 bus lines as well as the Red, Green, and Purple light-rail lines. Expansion and improvement of the light-rail system are METRO’s primary goals.

Walkers and bikers will find they have an easy time getting around Downtown Houston. In addition to greenery-filled streets, Houston has an underground system of tunnels that spans six miles and connects 95 city blocks. The tunnels house everything from banks to dry cleaners, as well as plenty of shops and restaurants. The tunnels also make it easy for the downtown office population to avoid the summer heat. Back above ground, Houston has a bicycle sharing system called Houston B-Cycle.

Houston has two major airports that make flying in and out of the city a breeze for frequent business flyers. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is one of the country’s busiest international airports and is located to the north of Downtown Houston. The William Hobby Airport lies to the southwest.

Popular Houston submarkets

Downtown Houston

The Downtown Houston district covers just under two square miles but is home to the city’s best-known attractions and entertainment hubs, such as the Theater District, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, Discovery Green, and Market Square Park. Companies in the energy sector will find themselves working alongside the corporate offices of Shell Oil Co., Calpine, Dynegy, and Total Petrochemicals USA. Downtown Houston is also the city’s civic center, so companies seeking proximity to City Hall and the courthouses should check out Houston office space. Six major freeways lead to Downtown Houston, and there are plenty of public transportation options as well. Rent Downtown Houston office space for an average of just under $43.50 per square foot.

Businesses looking for space near Downtown Houston without quite as much hustle and bustle may be interested in Montrose, an offbeat neighborhood known for its eclectic culture, varied dining options, murals, and exciting architecture.

Midtown Houston

Directly southwest of Houston CBD, Midtown Houston presents a favorable community for legal, insurance, and real estate offices as well as software developers and companies in the Technology, Advertising, Media, and Information sectors. A growing number of co-working spaces in Midtown have made the neighborhood increasingly attractive to entrepreneurs and startups. The METRO Red Line has three stops along Midtown’s Main Street, and 30 bus routes serve the area. Office space in Midtown rents for just over $29 per square foot.

Houston Galleria

Houston Galleria is a mixed-use urban development centered around the upscale shopping mall of the same name, The Galleria. The Galleria contains three main office buildings: the Galleria Financial Center, Post Oak Tower, and the Galleria Tower. In total, the neighborhood houses just over 22.7 million square feet of office space. Financial institutions such as Citigroup Merrill Lynch have office space in the Financial Center, as well as many law offices, financial services companies, and energy trading companies. Get to Galleria via West Loop South, or take a bus or the Green Line. Rent office space in Galleria for just under $36.25 per square foot.

Houston Heights

Houston Heights is a suburb in Harris County northwest of Downtown Houston known for its boutiques, mom and pop shops, unique architecture, and quaint community character. At slightly less than $24 per square foot, local office space leases for nearly 25% below the citywide average.

Energy Corridor

The Energy Corridor is a business district that’s known for its energy industry. Houston’s Energy Corridor includes Katy Freeway West, Katy Freeway East, and Westchase. Prominent companies with office space in the Energy Corridor include Citgo, Dow Chemical, BP, ExxonMobil, and Foster Wheeler. Legal and financial services are also standard commercial tenants in the area. Aside from the Katy Freeway, other expressways that reach the Energy Corridor include the Loop, the Northwest Freeway, and Sam Houston Tollway. METRO bus line 75 is known as the Energy Corridor Connector, and many public transit options are available at the nearby Addicks Park & Ride. Rent office space in Energy Corridor for just over $30 per square foot. The Westchase area of Energy Corridor offers slightly cheaper office spaces at $28.25 per square foot on average.

Greenway Plaza

Greenway Plaza is a mixed-use development located in the Inner Loop of Houston, approximately five miles west of the CBD. Considered one of Houston’s largest business districts with nearly 10 million square feet of office space, Greenway Plaza is home to major commercial tenants including various petroleum distribution and energy companies along with insurance, investment management, and software and data services. The exit to Greenway Plaza is off of main highway I-69. A handful of bus lines service the area, and connections to the Red Line and Purple Line cover a portion of the commute. Greenway office space rents for approximately $34.50 per square foot.

Texas Medical Center

The Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston is the most extensive medical center in the world and employs over 100,000 people. Within the Texas Medical Center are 21 hospitals, eight academic institutions, a startup accelerator, and close to 50 other related organizations. Office space surrounding the Medical Center neighborhood is ideal for life sciences and medical technology companies. Located three miles south of Downtown Houston near the intersection of the South Freeway and the Old Spanish Trail, it takes less than 15 minutes to drive to TMC with light traffic. The Red Line and multiple buses go to TMC, and the campus has its own privately run streets, transit, and parking. Office space in the Texas Medical Center leases for just over $28.25 per square foot.

Greenspoint/North Belt

Greenspoint has nearly 9 million square feet of office space at some of the lowest prices per square foot. Rent space in this neighborhood for less than $19 per square foot. The Greenspoint business district covers seven square miles and provides office space to approximately 3,000 companies. Energy and shipping are the two most prominent industries in Greenspoint. George Bush Intercontinental Airport is only a few miles east of Greenspoint off of Hardy Toll Road. Drivers can access Greenspoint via the North Freeway or Sam Houston Tollway, and the Greenspoint Transit Center operates four bus lines.

Southwest Houston

Southwest Houston is roughly defined by the area below Katy Freeway and between the Sam Houston Tollway and Highway 6. One of the most diverse neighborhoods with robust Jewish, Hispanic, Asian American, and Indian communities, most people who work in Southwest Houston also live there. Electronics, manufacturing, oil, and healthcare management services are the leading industries in the area. Commuters have access to multiple METRO Park & Ride locations in the area. Office rent is quite cheap in Southwest Houston at just over $15.50 per square foot on average.

Sugar Land

Sugar Land was founded as a sugar plantation but is now a city within the Houston metropolitan area and is one of the fastest growing cities in Texas. Outlook Magazine and Texas Business both designated Sugar Land as one of the Top Cities in Texas for business expansion. Sugar Land houses more than 4.2 million square feet of office space inventory, renting at an average of slightly below $29.50 per square foot.

Spring, TX

Spring, Texas, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Harris County and is part of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area. It is around 25 miles north of Downtown Houston, and presents affordable, quality office spaces for businesses to lease. Asking rents for all classes tend to average $24 per square foot.

Top commercial real estate listings in Houston

Houston’s enormous office market presents a wide range of types of office spaces and suites, but it can also be intimidating when a business is just beginning the search for commercial real estate. Contact one of our professional brokers to help you make the executive decision when selecting your next Houston office space. Or, take a look at one of these three premier properties in the city:

12 Greenway Plaza: 12 Greenway Plaza is a 15-story office building conveniently located in Greenway Plaza near Interstate 59 and Interstate 610 about five minutes west of Downtown Houston. Notable tenants include Amegy Bank, Abby Office Centers, and Direct Energy. Currently, seven office spaces ranging from 100-8,687 square feet in size are vacant and available to new renters. Contact SquareFoot to schedule a tour or inquire about pricing. 12 Greenway Plaza offers great amenities, including access to banking services, a state-of-the-art conference center, a health clinic, an on-site hotel, and a five-star restaurant.

1000 Louisiana Street: Built in 1983, 1000 Louisiana Street—or Wells Fargo Plaza—is a 71-story skyscraper located in Downtown Houston. At 992 feet tall, it’s the city’s second-tallest building and the nation’s 20th-tallest building. Wells Fargo Plaza houses Dynegy, Targa, the Houstonian Lite club, the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in Houston, Morgan Lewis, and, of course, Wells Fargo. Right now only one unit, a partial floor suite that is 10,048 square feet in size, is vacant. Contact SquareFoot for pricing details. Those working at Wells Fargo Plaza have access to a cafe, a premium fitness center, FedEx & UPS overnight services, and banking services. Commuters can easily access the building via the Houston Tunnel System or main highway I-49.

2111 Norfolk Street: Norfolk Tower is an office building located at 2211 Norfolk Street in Houston. The building currently has 11 office spaces ranging from 444 to 7,251 square feet in size. Contact SquareFoot to schedule a tour of the property or to inquire regarding pricing.

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