777 Main office tower sells to Atlanta firm

777 Main has traded to Brookdale Group. It was formerly called Carter-Burgess Plaza.
777 Main has traded to Brookdale Group. It was formerly called Carter-Burgess Plaza. Star-Telegram archives

An Atlanta-based commercial real estate firm bought the 40-story 777 Main office building in downtown Fort Worth on Tuesday, a day after a judge ordered that the sale could go ahead.

State District Judge John Chupp signed the order Monday after lawyers for Petroleum Exploration Co., a 27th-floor tenant in the building, and Cousins Properties, an Atlanta-based real estate investment trust that had owned the building for about 15 months, agreed to set aside $862,679 in sale proceeds for possible use in a lease dispute judgment.

Cousins Properties said it sold the 980,000-square-foot building for $167 million to the Brookdale Group in Atlanta. Cousins said it paid $160 million for the property in September 2013.

Brookdale executives could not be reached for comment.

Cousins agreed that selling the property did not release it from pre-sale liability when it assumed Petroleum Exploration’s lease on acquiring the building from Crescent Real Estate Equities. Petroleum Exploration signed a lease with Crescent in 2011 but didn’t move in until December 2013.

Petroleum Exploration, or Petex, is suing Cousins for breach of contract and fraud, saying promised renovations were not completed.

Petex’s lease was to expire a year from now, but in May 2013 the company extended it to Dec. 31, 2018, and was promised renovations to its space that were to have been completed by the time the company moved in.

The company is seeking up to $1 million in monetary relief. A trial in the case has been scheduled for April.

The Brookdale Group has invested $1.4 billion in 60 office properties since it was founded 20 years ago, according to its website.

Petex is a privately held company that focuses on acquisition, drilling, and operation of oil and gas properties nationwide. It leases 11,060 square feet of office space formerly used by Jacobs Engineering.

Built in 1982 by Woodbine Development Corp., the building opened as Continental Plaza and became UPR Plaza in 1998. It was renamed Carter-Burgess Plaza in 2000 and then 777 Main in April 2012.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST