O'Connor offices moving to former furniture store


March 12, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2012 at 10:12 p.m.

One O'Connor Plaza's namesake tenant will move to a new downtown home near year's end.

Four groups - Louise O'Connor, Catherine O'Connor and the Braman and Hewitt interests - purchased the old Kamin Furniture building at 120 Santa Rosa St., said Robert Hewitt Jr., vice president of O'Connor & Hewitt Ltd.

The entities plan to move in once their current lease - which lasts through the year - expires.

Hewitt said the change was simply a business move, explaining that owning property made sense.

"If you're paying a considerable amount of money in rent per month, it doesn't take long to do the math and figure out you can own a building and not have to pay rent anymore," he said. "That's a big part of it."

Hewitt declined comment regarding the sales price, citing business reasons.

The O'Connor Trusts purchased One O'Connor Plaza in December 1984 from Victoria Bank & Trust Co., the Advocate previously reported. Hewitt said his office has called the place home since 1985, although the building later sold to Norwest Bank and, later, a Houston-based owner.

Kemp Properties purchased the 101 W. Goodwin Avenue property in July 2009.

Kemp always hates to lose high-profile and quality tenants, and that's what the O'Connor family is, said Bill Ball, a partner in the property management company. The change will, however, create an opportunity for a new tenant to occupy what he called "some of the most beautifully finished-out space in the entire state of Texas."

"The finish-out rivals that of a Wall Street investment firm," he said, noting its view of the city and private elevator, which leads to a rooftop helipad.

Although the space is not yet spoken for - the same is true for the ground floor space Wells Fargo vacated in recent months - Ball said Kemp has signed other leases and will soon find tenants for the empty space.

"With Caterpillar and other exciting economic developments, we're excited for the new generation of Victoria businessmen to move into the building," he said.

Bringing new life into the Kamin building is a positive thing for the city, said Mike Sigg, Victoria Main Street Program director.

"Any time you see reinvestment into your buildings, that's a great thing," he said. "Ultimately you need to see buildings put to good use because that's the best way you can make sure they're properly maintained."

Greek's 205 Bar and Steve-A-Reno's Rock & Roll Blues Bar are two other examples of businesses that did the same, he noted.

Although demolition is under way at the Kamin building, Hewitt said the entities are still working on final floor plans, designs and so on.

"I don't think anybody will be displeased with what they see," he said.



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