10/18/16 4:45pm

CityWestPlace Parking Garage, Briarforest, Houston, 77042

A reader sends a shot of the roof of the last of the 4 former BMC Software campus parking garages to get put on the parking-space straight-and-narrow. Last Friday the angled stripes got powerwashed off of the top floor of the turn-of-the-millenium structure, which sits along CityWest Blvd. north of the new Phillips 66 campus just outside Beltway 8. All of the remaining garages on the site appear to have been restriped one at a time over the past decade or so with 90-degree parking spots (as can be seen on the roof of another of the garages in the upper right, further north along CityWest). The office complex goes by CityWestPlace these days; the complex is one of the properties held by new Houston-only REIT (New) Parkway, which was formed earlier this month when old Parkway and Cousins Properties merged then dumped all of their Houston holdings into a new, separate REIT.

Perpendicular spaces will better fit in with the campus’s general rectilinear motifs — for example, with this series of narrow rectangular water features on the other side of that northern parking garage:


09/20/16 3:15pm

SHELL’S DOWNTOWN OPERATIONS TO SHED OFFICES, SCURRY OVER TO LARGER WEST HOUSTON CAMPUSES One Shell Plaza Office Tower, 910 Louisiana St., Downtown HoustonMore than half a decade after the local fretting about it started, Shell has announced that it will leave One Shell Plaza, writes Cara Smith this morning. Moreover, the company will drop nearly all of its other Downtown holdings as well, including the previously announced removal of recently-ish acquired BG Group from BG Group Place. Smith writes that the only announced exception to the pullout is Shell’s trading group at 1000 Main; the rest of the company’s downtown workers will move by early 2017 into either the Technology Center at Hwy. 6 south of Richmond Ave. or into the company’s Woodcreek campus along I-10 (south of the Addicks reservoir). [HBJ; previously on SwamplotPhoto of One Shell Plaza: Antonio Foster-Azcunaga

08/02/16 3:45pm

Westlake Four, 200 Westlake Park Blvd., HoustonPlease don’t turn around and stare, but suddenly another entire office tower in the Energy Corridor has become available for lease — all 20 floors of it. Any takers?

So far, only one of the 2 extremely available towers appears to qualify as a genuine see-through building — that would be the 22-story completed-but-never-occupied Energy Center Four, at N. Eldridge Pkwy. and I-10, which back in June ConocoPhillips announced it was giving up on moving into but hoped some other company (or 32) would sublease from them. And now from Nancy Sarnoff comes the other dropping shoe: energy company BP, announcing that by early next year it plans to vacate Four Westlake Park, aka WestLake Four, a little more than a mile west along the freeway feeder road, at 200 Westlake Park Blvd. BP has 7 years to go on its lease for that 22-year-old property from New York-based Falcon Real Estate Investment Management.

Photo of Westlake Park Four: Steven Baker

Getting Lonely on the Katy Fwy.
07/28/16 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW GREENSPOINT COULD TURN OVER A NEW LEAF fig-leaves“A 50 percent occupancy rate created because a company moved a slew of employees to a shiny new corporate megacampus is a good thing.  . . . This is just a good composting of office space. The piles of old office space will turn into new low cost space that will hopefully attract some diversification for the Houston economy.” [Old School, commenting on Comment of the Day: Don’t Try To Lump All That Empty Houston Office Space Together] Illustration: Lulu

04/27/16 4:45pm

Corporate Plaza I Demolition, 2600 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

That’s 2 stories down and 8 left to go for the last holdout in the former Corporate Plaza office park, seen here from the northeast looking across Kirby Dr. toward 59. The freeway-facing and side facades of the once-10-story midrise have been totally removed, and the remaining facade is beginning to look a bit patchy around the top; piles of debris can be seen stretching out to the north of the structure, across the now-barren Upper Kirby plain where the partially demolished Corporate Plaza parking garage nearly demolished part of the demo team back in February.

Photo: Lulu

Office-Appropriate Cut on Kirby
03/18/16 11:15am

2244 Welch St., Vermont Commons, Houston, 77019

A reader notes that the 1938 house at 2244 Welch St. — just 60 ft. east of the new 17-story office tower neighbor at 2229 San Felipe (peeking in from the right in the frame above) — is up for sale. Renting residents of the house made the news during early construction of the “boutique” San Felipe Place highrise in 2014; the occupants complained of diesel fumes, noise, and structural damage to the property from equipment operating feet from the fenceline (including the giant crane planted in the lot next door). Hines’s efforts to patch up the neighborly dispute escalated from the hasty installation of “hobo-penthouse” plastic sheeting to an eventual payoff arrangement that helped the renting family move to Pearland around April of 2014.

The house went on the market for $789,000 last November, not long after the 2-time lawsuit-defying completion of the tower in September and the pickup of a handful of tenants. The Kinder Foundation announced in October that it would be leasing the top floor of the highrise, which can be seen peering in through the shutters in a few of the house’s listing shots: 


03/08/16 2:30pm

Renovation of Sunset Coffee Building at Allen's Landing, Downtown, Houston, 77002

A shiny new cistern is now in place at the former Sunset Coffee building at Allen’s Landing, which Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston First have been redeveloping into an office-topped boat-and-bike-rental spot.  The 1910 coffee roasting facility has once again donned walls after moving past a Summer 2014 minimalist phase, and is currently decked out in a muted Café du Monde orange.

The no-longer-see-through structure is back to limiting the view from the Harris County Jail across the bayou (visible on the far right, above). A set of stairs are in place alongside the new cistern, along with railings around what appears to be the planned rooftop terrace.


Nearing Launch at Allen’s Landing
02/29/16 10:15am

Fisher Homes, 832 Yale St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

Fisher Homes, 832 Yale St., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

The custom home and office building of Heights homebuilder Fisher Homes at 832 Yale St. is currently up for sale or lease. Construction on the just-under-15,000-sq.-ft. building south of 9th St. wrapped up near the end of 2014; the property listing indicates that availability started in January of this year.

Amenities at the Morrison Heights and Studemont Mid-Rise developer’s mixed-use space include an indoor basketball court, downtown views from the above-3rd-story rooftop terrace, and various conference rooms. Floorplans of the building show the middle-of-the-house driveway (which provides access to the backyard parking lot) separating a 437-sq.-ft. apartment (circled in dotted red below) from the main structure:


For Sale on Yale
02/26/16 3:00pm

Demolition of Solvay America Building, 3333 Richmond, Greenway Plaza, Houston, 77098

A reader caught a glimpse of the 1992 Solvay America building taking some more nasty blows from a demo crew out back behind the new 3737 Buffalo Spdwy. office tower south of the corner with Richmond Ave. (That’s the 2727 Kirby condo highrise glancing over at the scene from the right edge of the shot, while the distant Huntingdon tower looks away.) [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lufti Rukab

02/25/16 12:30pm

609 Main St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Update, 5pm: In an email sent to the Houston Business Journal, a spokesperson for the airline confirms that 609 Main will become United’s Houston headquarters. This story has been updated.

A source tells Swamplot that United Airlines is about to announce an upcoming flight to the new tower rising at 609 Main St. Employees were briefed this morning on plans to move into Hines’s 41-plus-7-more-story skyscraper going up on the former site of the 1931 Texas Tower. The source says that United’s operations at 1600 Smith and 600 Jefferson streets (formerly known as Continental Center I and II, in the days before the 2010 merger of the 2 air giants) will be consolidated into the new space.

United employees may get a little lift from the underfloor air system incorporated into the tower’s design. The Chicago-based company should also feel at home moving in with fellow northern exports Kirkland & Ellis; the law firm announced its tenancy in the building back in December.


With The Wind Beneath Their Feet
02/18/16 1:15pm

Future Seafarers International Union Hall, 501 N. York St., Second Ward, Houston, 77003

A reader shipped over these shots of the new Seafarers International Union Hall under construction at 501 N. York St., just south of the crossing of Buffalo Bayou (and of the name change to Hirsch Rd.). An entity called Seafarer’s Building Corporation bought the land from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership in March of last year; the bayou folks snagged it in 2001 from construction materials producer Lafarge, which acquired it as a General Portland cement facility in 1989. The property sits a block down N. York from bayou-side Tony Marron Park, itself immediately upstream of the Dan-Loc Group machining plant.

A close-up of the rendering posted at the job site at the corner with Freund St. shows an access ramp stretching along the N. York side of the property, as well as what appears to be a partially covered upstairs patio:


Coming Together on N. York St.
01/18/16 2:30pm

SWEEPING UP THE CRUMBS AT THE FORMER HOME OF MIYAKO, RED ONION, AND MADRAS PAVILION Corporate Plaza 2 and 3 Demolitions, Kirby at Norfolk, Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098 A reader surveys the scant leftovers of the once-restaurant-filled office park at Kirby at Norfolk this morning. The knock-’em-down phase of the demolition of Corporate Plaza II and III, which began in mid-December, appears to have wrapped up and transitioned into the haul-’em-away. The complex’s still-standing parking garage,  pictured on the right, was issued its demo permit on Friday. The last structure of the office park trio, the Corporate Plaza I midrise (hiding unsuccessfully behind the garage), has recently acquired a sash of debris netting around the middle; Nancy Sarnoff reports that Corporate Plaza I will be demolished as well. The complex should be fully done in by the end of April. [Chron.com, previously on Swamplot] Photo of 3910 and 3930 Kirby Dr.: Swamplot inbox

12/22/15 11:30am

Proposed Modifications to 800 Bell St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Permits were issued yesterday for construction of a new tunnel concourse below 800 Bell St. —  the Louisiana tunnel will be tied into the new digs planned beneath the former ExxonMobil building, at the corner of Bell and Milam downtown.

Following Exxon’s gradual withdrawal north to its new Woodlands campus, the Bell St. building is being completely redone — beneath a fancy new hat, the structure’s exterior fins will be engulfed in a new glass skin to add 100,000 sq.ft. of floorspace to the building. Eric Anderson told the HBJ last year that the only part of the building that wouldn’t be replaced is the concrete.

Renderings and site plans from architects Ziegler Cooper now provide a glimpse into plans for the basement and coming tunnel connections as well:


800 Bell St.
12/16/15 12:30pm

Demo of 3910 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098

All eyes (well — at least 4) were on 3910 Kirby just north of 59 yesterday as excavators began snacking on the space formerly occupied by South Indian restaurant Madras Pavilion: reader J. Clark captured some sky-high views of the ongoing demolition; another anonymous tipster snapped shots from lower levels and the ground. The Corporate Plaza III building (shown en déshabillé above) also previously housed Central-American restaurant Red Onion and sushi joint Miyako.

A fence has gone up around both Corporate Plaza III and Corporate Plaza II, next door at 3930 Kirby. Demo permits for both structures were issued on Friday, and work began yesterday morning to bring the northern building down. Corporate Plaza I, the taller sibling of the doomed twins, is visible on the right behind the parking garage on the same property:


07/15/15 1:45pm

2223 N. Main St., Near Northside, Houston

2223 N. Main St., Near Northside, Houston

Hop on or off the Red Line train at Quitman and you’ll find this 1940 red-brick structure a-renovating at the northwest corner of N. Main St. What’s being fixed up? Here are a couple of before-and-during shots showing the transformation of the 11,850-sq.-ft. office building at 2223 N. Main St. so far: