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06/12/2012

Is Chesapeake Energy looking to sell its downtown FW office tower?

Four years after buying the gleaming 20-story office tower near downtown Fort Worth from Pier 1 Imports, Chesapeake Energy is said to be looking to sell the property.

Local executive Julie Wilson said in an email response to questions that the now-called Chesapeake Plaza "hasn't been sold," and that "it isn't listed for sale."

Wilson did not answer questions on whether the building is being marketed even though it's not technically on the block, if anyone has looked at the building, or if any offers have been made.

Local real estate brokers say they expect offers to be made on the building in the wake of the Oklahoma City-based company saying its assets are for sale. Chesapeake's board has come under fire in recent weeks for corporate governance issues related to its CEO Aubrey McClendon's personal financial activities. In April, Reuters reported that McClendon borrowed $1 billion to buy stakes in the company's wells, including from an investment group that was negotiating to buy other assets from Chesapeake.

Chesapeake paid $104 million for the property at 100 Energy Way. Its former address was 100 Pier 1 Place. At the time of the sale, Chesapeake said it would move as many as 400 employees into the top half of the office building.

Chesapeake has a $55 million mortgage on the office building with CLG Hedge Fund in Plano, which is due June 12, 2014, according to deed records. The Tarrant Appraisal District values the property today at $62.7 million, down from $72 million in 2009, records show.

Chesapeake is no longer leasing 70,000 square feet of office space on the top floor of the parking garage that serves The Tower condominiums at Fifth and Taylor streets. That space was mostly used by Texas Midstream Gas Services, an affiliate, that is now being sold by Chesapeake.

Chesapeake does have 25 Texas properties listed for sale, including the former Bunge Oil site in the Fort Worth Stockyards, that has been demolished. Asking price $6.3 million. It's also listed for sale the Ormsby Ranch in Johnson County for $24.5 million; a site at 1800 E. 4th St. for $14 million and Greenway Berk, at Texas 114 and Carroll Street, in Southlake for $10.2 million.

_ Sandra Baker

 

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