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Guest donaltopablo

For sale: 50 story tower

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For sale: Enron's 50-story headquarters


AP Business Writer

HOUSTON -- The "For Sale" sign is going up at Enron Corp.'s headquarters.

Granite Partners LLC, a New York real estate investment banking firm, announced Wednesday it's been retained to sell the 50-story glass tower at a time when top-notch office space in downtown Houston is cheap and plentiful.

Richard Rudd, senior managing director for Granite Partners' Houston office, said he hopes to close a sale on the 1.2 million-square-foot headquarters by December. No firm price is being set for the building; Rudd said the firm will wait to see what people are willing to pay. The local county government values the building at $92.5 million.

Finding a taker may be difficult, though. The downturn in the economy has hurt Houston businesses, including the energy sector, reducing the demand for pricey real estate.

"It's real ugly," said Richard Zigler, director of research for O'Connor & Associates, a Houston-based real estate and research firm. "It certainly does not seem like a good time to lease a million square feet."

The oval-shaped headquarters housed more than 7,000 employees before the company went bankrupt in December 2001 amid devastating revelations of inflated profits, hidden debt and questionable accounting. Thousands of laid off Enron employees streamed outside the day after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Enron's trademark tilted-E logos outside the building and a black revolving "E" that used to light up the company's lobby were sold at auctions last year.

The company's remaining 1,300 employees, now using 20 floors of the skyscraper, will move to a much smaller office of no more than 300,000 square feet in another part of downtown early next year, according to an Enron spokesman.

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Thanks for the pic. I might have 100 million laying around here somewhere.

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