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.
04/23/15 12:00pm

Landry's Proposed Post Oak Hotel Complex, 1600 West Loop South, Galleria, Houston

“Remember, I’m the guy that took the old fire station and made it an aquarium,” Tilman Fertitta explains to Nancy Sarnoff. “I took the old Flagship and made it the Pleasure Pier. I took an old fishing village and made it the Kemah Boardwalk.” All of which might help explain the simple concept behind the Landry’s CEO’s latest venture: taking a surface parking lot next to the Landry’s corporate headquarters near the Galleria and turning it into a 35-story hotel-apartment-office-tower with a 2-story auto showroom in front, then filling out the rest of the 10-acre site with a parking garage and couple of pad-site restaurants facing the West Loop southbound feeder.

A row of 4 large lit-up diamonds facing east across the freeway will festoon the forehead of the Gensler-designed tower at 1600 West Loop South. Fertitta calls the not-really-a-sign a “subtle message.” It’s meant to stand in for the 4 diamond shapes in the Landry’s logo — dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming — though until a few pesky laws can be changed not all can be offered on site.


Landry’s Post Oak
04/22/15 2:00pm

WHEN SYSTEMS BREAK DOWN East Downtown, HoustonA reader writes: “The non-profit I work for is currently looking for a new office. We found a great location in East Downtown, near the new rail line, recently renovated, and a great price. It is essentially our dream office. During the lease negotiations the realtor said that after 90 days into the 3 year lease, if any plumbing, electrical, or HVAC issues arise, we would be responsible for paying it. Including any replacement and labor. When countered with a ‘no,’ the realtor stated that this was a normal practice in Houston and ‘good luck trying to find a place that will let you get away with that.’ Being new to this process, we are curious if this is true. The current office we are in does not require that and I personally have not heard of it other places.” Photo: Russell Hancock

03/18/15 4:30pm



Looking a bit like a bricked-up, tricked out Americanized Florentine chapel, a solidly built property facing N. Main St. east of I-45 could swing either way. The property would work as a home or office, the listing suggests. (The second level could be a separate unit.) In a relisting this week after a 9-month break from the market, the undecided property knocked more than $100K off its previous ask, bringing the price tag to $249K. Back in May 2014, the sellers wanted $355K. But even that price was a second whittle for the property. It had first hit the market in June 2012 at $485K, but several adjustments had brought the price down to $385K before the listing expired 6 months later. In other words, the property is available now for just over half of the previous offering’s peak price.


On the Line
07/08/14 10:15am

DE-MAD-MEN-IZED DOWNTOWN EXXONMOBIL TOWER REMINDS ME OF MY DOCTOR’S OFFICE, COMPLAINS CHRON COLUMNIST Lisa Gray, already on record as a non-fan of Shorenstein Realty’s plans to remove all the distinctive sun-shading fins from the soon-to-be-former ExxonMobil Tower at 800 Bell St. downtown (and incorporate all the space they occupied into the floor plates), says the sleek new video (with only semi-robotic, live-action scalies!) put out by the San Francisco real estate company (embedded at right; click in bottom right corner to see it full-screen) reveals that the renovation plans for the building are “even worse than I thought.” What’s the problem with removing what’s left of the building’s Mad Men-era accoutrements, and sheathing the recaptured space with shiny glass? The video shows that Downtown architecture firm Ziegler Cooper’s resulting design will be “a dead ringer,” she claims, for the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza tower at the northern tip of the Med Center at 6200 Fannin. That building was designed by the firm’s Uptown-ish rival, Kirksey Architecture. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Video: Transwestern

06/27/14 2:00pm

HAL-PC Headquarters, 4543 Post Oak Place Dr., Post Oak Park, Houston

Map Showing HAL-PC Headquarters, 4543 Post Oak Pl., Post Oak Park, Houston The Houston Area League of PC Users will be moving out of its ghost town of a 6,665 sq. ft. headquarters space in the sleepy 2-story office building at 4543 Post Oak Place Dr. a bit later than its originally announced deadline of the end of 2013. But HAL-PC isn’t leaving (as it declared last year) to find some more suitable space with more attractive rents and fewer parking problems, and so the building can work its way to a new identity as an assembly of medical clinics; it’s leaving on account of the organization is shutting down entirely. By a vote of the board of directors earlier this week, HAL-PC has chosen to disband.


User Group Deprecated
04/16/14 4:45pm

ExxonMobil North Houston Campus Under Construction, Springwoods Village, HoustonExxonmobil began moving the first workers into its new campus south of The Woodlands last Friday, a source tells Swamplot. Among the first to make the trek to the former pine forest (pictured at left, with workers in formation, during construction last year) near the intersections of I-45, the Hardy Toll Road, and the latest segment of the Grand Parkway: employees of the ExxonMobil Development Company, who’ve been working in Greenspoint for more than a dozen years.

Photo: ExxonMobil

It’s Moving Month!
11/11/13 10:00am

An entry posted over the weekend to the website of Ziegler Cooper Architects indicates that the local firm has won Shorenstein Properties’ invited competition to remake the soon-to-be-former ExxonMobil Building (at right), a prominent, bristly, and standoffish figure on the southern edge of Houston’s Downtown since 1962. The redo, which will be far more extensive than a simple reskinning, removes the most distinctive feature of the building, originally designed by L.A. architects Welton Becket for Humble Oil: the 7-foot-deep shades, cantilevered from marble-clad columns, that help shield sunlight from all but the top of the tower’s 44 stories.


10/21/13 12:00pm

Just north of the Katy Fwy. at Park Row and Park Ten Blvd., construction is underway on Park Ten Center. The 301,932-sq.-ft. complex will comprise a pair of 3-story office buildings designed by O’Brien Architecture out of Dallas. Developed by Lincoln Property and Stonelake, the 150,966-sq.-ft. buildings are being built mostly on spec: Only 1 tenant, and an undisclosed one to boot, has signed on. Houston Business Journal reports that the complex will occupy the Energy Corridor property where a cluster of smaller industrial buildings were demolished back in June.


10/10/13 1:25pm

MORE LAKEFRONT OFFICE BUILDINGS ON THE BELTWAY Construction got going this week, Houston Business Journal reports, on 2 Gensler-designed 9-story spec buildings at Beltway Lakes, the 46-acre office park at the intersection of Beltway 8 and the Tomball Parkway. These 2, and their accompanying lake, will stand right beside the 6-story buildings — and their lake — that made up the park’s first phase; a master plan from developer Radler Enterprises shows 2 more buildings — and 1 more lake. [Houston Business Journal; Beltway Lakes] Rendering: Gensler

10/07/13 3:35pm

The Houston and Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will be moving its headquarters from Holcombe Blvd. to Southeast Houston. Gensler redrew the former Plus4 Credit Union on the Loop feeder near Long and Griggs to do away with the 6-teller drive-thru and include instead a garden, cafe, office space, and entrance pavilion on the 2.2-acre property. The 2-story, 16,078-sq.-ft. bank building dates to 1979. Construction is scheduled to begin this Wednesday.


10/04/13 12:45pm

That huge empty husk of a building at the corner of Leeland and Delano will be renovated into offices for ChaiOne, which designs and develops mobile apps. According to a press release, ChaiOne has bought the presently windowless, 25,245-sq.-ft., 3-story building that, in 1938, served as the first U.S. headquarters of Schlumberger. ChaiOne CEO Gaurav Khandelwal is also one of the owners of the nearby coworking incubator Start. This rendering of the building shows the possibility of ground-floor retail opening up in this mostly residential and industrial part of the East End, with a coffee shop appearing to face Delano St.

Rendering: ChaiOne

09/30/13 12:00pm

FIRST STREETS, THEN UTILITIES, THEN A BUSINESS PARK IN ROSENBERG Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that Fuller Realty will be developing these not-yet-accessible 184 acres near Bryan Rd. and FM 2218, just off the Southwest Fwy., into an office park. But before that happens someone’s got to invest in infrastructure: Dixon adds that, later this year, the city of Rosenberg will chip in by building streets, utilities, and drainage for the park; size-to-suit sites could be ready for businesses next spring. [Real Estate Bisnow] Map: Real Estate Bisnow

08/27/13 2:00pm

A REAL BIG DATA CENTER COMING TO NORTHWEST HOUSTON Real Estate Bisnow’s Catie Dixon reports that CyrusOne is going to add 2 more buildings early next year to its 45-acre data-dealing-with campus in Westbranch near the Beltway: “The new developments include a 600k SF data center with 100 megawatt capacity and a 200k SF Class-A office” designed by Kirksey and depicted in the rendering shown here. Apparently, adds Dixon, the new data center, which will support primarily the oil and gas industries, will be nothing to sneeze at: “[It] will be one of the largest in the country, and [CyrusOne CEO Kevin Timmons] says it should sate demand in Houston for years to come.” [Real Estate Bisnow] Rendering: Kirksey Architecture

08/27/13 10:00am

This week, Stream Realty will start adding this 6-story building to its all-natural, LEED-aspiring office park in The Woodlands. The spec 154,213-sq.-ft Reserve at Sierra Pines II, to be located at 1585 Sawdust Rd., will join its larger predecessor, the 175,000-sq.-ft. building sold more than a year ago for about $40 million to the REIT CapLease. Houston Business Journal’s Shaina Zucker adds that this new building, a brisk 1.5-mile walk north of the ExxonMobil campus, is planned to include “a jogging trail” and a “heavily landscaped Zen garden.”

Stream has a few other projects in the hopper: There’s that curvaceous 41-story International Tower that Stream (along with Essex) has proposed to build on that block south of Market Square Park, and there’s that more straightforward 25-story office building just off Washington and Waugh.

Rendering: Stream Realty Partners