Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tenet Healthcare moving to downtown Dallas' Fountain Place

High gasoline prices and a revitalized downtown have lured Tenet Healthcare Corp. to downtown Dallas from its current offices in the north suburbs.

About 500 Tenet employees will make the move from north of LBJ Freeway to Fountain Place by the end of next year.

Tenet president and chief executive Trevor Fetter credits the DART rail system and the appeal of a more urban location for his decision to shift the company's head office to the Ross Avenue skyscraper.

"We looked from downtown Dallas as far north as Plano," Mr. Fetter said Friday. "I thought downtown had so much to offer our headquarters employees."

The hospital operator's home office moved from California to Dallas in 2004.

But since then, both commuting costs and downtown Dallas have seen big changes. As the hub of the region's public transportation system, the central business district is benefiting from a greater reliance on mass transit.

"People are feeling the pinch of gas prices," Mr. Fetter said. "And more than anything else, it's the resurgence taking place downtown."

Years of public and private sector investment have brought thousands of new residences, retail space and cultural attractions to a central business district that languished during much of the 1990s.

That's now paying off with renewed business activity.

"There are 40 companies that represent more than 1 million square feet of office space that have moved downtown in the last year," said John Crawford, CEO of the DowntownDallas organization.

Those moves have added almost 6,000 jobs.

"Downtown is on a roll," Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said at an announcement of Tenet's big deal. "We are no longer talking about hopes and dreams.

"What we are talking about is a reality."

Tenet will lease about 165,000 square feet on five floors of the green glass Fountain Place tower.

With the latest lease, the building is about 80 percent rented.

"We have done 200,000 square feet of new leases in the building in the last six months," said Mike Lewis of Crescent Real Estate Equities, which owns Fountain Place. "There is a lot going on downtown, and more is coming."

Real estate broker CB Richard Ellis represented Tenet as it looked at potential relocation sites during the past year.

"We found downtown Dallas to be a very attractive option, as have other recent tenants relocating to downtown such as Comerica, AIG and AT&T," said CB Richard Ellis executive vice president Phil Puckett.

Other recent downtown moves have been made by 7-Eleven Inc. and TM Advertising.

"All of that is a major part of the changing face of downtown Dallas," Mr. Crawford said. "People are looking downtown who never thought about looking before."

Tenet – which is now located just north of the Galleria complex at 13737 Noel Road – operates more than 50 hospitals in 12 states.

The company has more than 62,000 employees and about $8.7 billion in annual revenue.

By Steve Brown