“Could the banality and sameness of what developers in Houston are constructing be in part to changed lending standards by the banks?
Back in the 1970′s Gerald Hines developed very innovative office buildings for the day, employing famous architects for the design. Pennzoil Place is no cookie cutter “international style” box, that’s for sure. But back then, we didn’t have interstate banking either. For those of you born post 1985, that means ALL of our banks were headquartered in Texas. I’d assume Hines went to see Ben Love at Texas Commerce Bank, or the guys at Allied Bank, and they worked out the loans. Today, those loan officers are in New York or Charlotte, and don’t want to risk their bank’s money on something avant garde.
Also, developers today rarely keep their portfolios together more than a few years. They ‘flip’ their completed properties to REITs so that they have the capital to build something else. When you need to turn your property over quickly, it’s best to have something the buyers understand, and that didn’t cost so much per square foot that you can’t make a profit selling it in 18 months. A REIT just wants to purchase something with what they feel will be a certain stream of income over a 10 year time horizon. They are oblivious to the fact that it’s not a thrilling design.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on The Muse Moving in Next to the Post Office in Castle Court]