Comment of the Day: Heading for Points Greener

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HEADING FOR POINTS GREENER “Unless I’m missing something, the whole thing seems like an egregious example of waste. You build Greenspoint 30 years ago and then for various reasons it’s no longer ideal, so do you improve it? Revamp it? No, you abandon it all and clear a new forest ten miles north for your new office park. And all the smaller companies that clustered around you there do likewise. And Greenspoint with its hundreds of acres of concrete just sits there like damaged goods. So what happens in thirty years when Springwoods Village is no longer ideal, when the new wears off? Do you improve it and make it work, or do you jump another ten miles north where there’s another waiting forest and build your new campus there? The irony is that I’m sure these buildings will be LEED-whatever certified and Exxon will tout itself as a great steward, but any environmentalist will tell you that the real way to conserve is to adapt & reuse, not just wantonly abandon & throw away.” [Mike, commenting on The Next Springwoods Village Rumor]

35 Comment

  • The essence of sprawl.

  • I always laugh when they show some hipster couple on the remodeling shows demoing out all the perfectly good and usable 1970′s / 80′s cabinets and countertops to replace with some “environmentally friendly” more modern / fashionable stuff. Those same people would probably yell at me for using a plastic bag at the grocery store too.

    We are a rich society indeed when we can afford to change home improvements out merely according to the whims of fashion.

  • This is how it’s been going since ’86 – the oil bust – when I first saw strip malls going up without any tenants:
    Build stuff, Abandon, Repeat.

  • It’s interesting when friends from back east visit, because they almost universally observe that Houston is “empty” (to quote directly). Given the amount of space in this city, the idea that we need to build things far from everything (and then build more roads to get people to them) is really kind of bizarre.

  • You don’t understand. Spring Woods Village is new. Greenspoint is old, and therefore inadequate, and no longer bright and shiny.

  • Greenspoint just becomes a third-tier office submarket, that’s all. Like Brookhollow or the South Loop. It means that the rents are lower. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something that happens. It’s actually an opportunity for some businesses.

    As for Springwoods not being near anything, it’s worth remembering that most of Exxon’s employees at Greenspoint actually live in affluent suburbs further to the north. Springwoods will probably result in a net reduction in miles driven.

  • Agree with Mike, but it seems like this is the way corporate executives like to handle such things in today’s business world.

  • It’s worth noting that Exxon leases Greenspoint (and other area) office space from Hines, they are offloading the upkeep/liability of 800 Bell, and they are consolidating nearly all of their nationwide employees to one central location.
    Those plans have been a long time in the works.

  • Not all corporations are moving out and away, look at what Halliburton is doing at their northbelt campus. It’s a couple miles away from greenspoint on beltway 8 near JFK, they have invested millions deconstructing old inefficient building and constructing new modern and beautiful offices and facilities. You can’t see much of it from beltway 8 but it’s really quite spectacular. The modern architecture and forethought of combining nature (mature trees and ponds) into the industrial site reminds me of my days working in Scandinavia.

  • Hey, Its the American Way.

  • 800 Bell is a cool MCM building. I wonder what will become of it.

  • To the other John: I couldn’t agree more. When I first visited before moving, I felt that same way. Friends are amazed at the amount of sprawl. Gives you an appreciation for why people are ‘afraid’ to visit places like NYC, Boston, DC, etc.

  • Your concern that Greenspoint will be abandoned is unfounded. It will be fine. Houston is growing like mad.
    At one point my neighborhood was a forest and so was yours.

  • Greenspoint is surrounded by ghetto, criminal infested apartment complexes. I have to drive through there occasionally. I wouldn’t blame anyone for leaving.

  • @jgriff at one point in time downtown the central business district here in Houston was surrounded by nothing but ghetto criminal infested neighborhoods and it didn’t keep multi million dollar office high rises from being built.

  • Class A & B office buildings in Greenspoint are about 86% leased today. Yes, the exxon vacancy will leave a huge hole in the market, but many companies that work with and want to be close to Exxon will likely backfill the space in due time. It’s not the prettiest or sexiest office submarket in Houston, but Greenspoint is definitely not struggling.

  • It’s the same story everywhere in Houston. There’s plenty of vacant office space on the Southwest Freeway in the Sharpstown area, but they keep building new offices out in the Energy Corridor. In the case of Sharpstown, it’s the area’s reputation that’s doing it. A shame, since unlike Greenspoint, the Southwest Freeway/Sharpstown area is close to everything.

  • @John: So you agree the Greenspoint is a ghetto infested criminal area? :)

    I really expected someone to say it’s not that bad.

    My wife works in the area and I sure wish she didn’t. I’m sure there are many people who work for ExxonMobil that think the same.

  • My dad is in the oil and gas biz and decided to lease in Greenspoint a few years ago because of a) its proximity to the companies they do business with, and b) its proximity to IAH. So there is some interest out there, at least in that sector. Personally I think its proximity to IAH helps keep the area stable – and probably will over time.

  • @jgriff I do agree that the apartments surrounding the area are. However I don’t agree that it affects the office market in the area. Certain people may not want to live in the area but working and living in a area are two completely different things. The same thing could be said about Westchase, the majority of the apartments in that area could be called ghetto and that hasn’t stopped office development in that area. Like I said earlier it never stopped Downtown from developing.

  • John, you be the first to move back into Gunspoint err Greenspoint. We will
    follow. ;p

  • I work for a large company in one of the buildings adjacent to the Hilton and Exxon buildings and I’ve had no problem working here for 4 years. You definitely don’t want to take a stroll around here at night but driving in to a garage at 7 am and driving out at 5 pm has been issue free. I understand Exxon’s grand plan to relocate but my company has just extended its lease here and I’m fine with that as are most people I’ve spoken with. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.

  • @Pfffft at what point in time did I say that I wanted to live in Greenspoint . . . ?

  • Greenspoint looks nice by day but is total ‘hood at night. Noble Energy will be moving to NW Houston (Hwy 249 & Louetta) in 2 waves. The first in the summer of 2013 and the next in 2015. My commute with be longer :(

  • John,
    Forget trying to have nuanced discussions with anybody these days. You either have to be in love with Greenspoint to the point that you have a burning desire to raise your children – literally – on its streets, or you need to cast it off as completely abominable in every way imaginable, as you would, say, a refugee camp in Somalia. No grey areas please.

  • @John: Thanks, I’d seen that link. Wonder how Shorenstein plans to redevelop 800 Bell… Residential? Mixed?

  • @ It should be interesting. It’s a great building in a not so great part of downtown. Hopefully it’s redevelopment will be a success causing more development in that area. His other redevelopments look great.

  • Sorry previous comment was for Eric

  • John, Eric, with the new residential building going up between the Houston House and the Savoy, the area between downtown and Midtown will hopefully begin to fill in and become something really nice. My wishlist would include putting the Pierce Elevated underground, and doing something about Central Square Plaza and the old Days Inn.

  • @Rodrigo that would be really great. I would like Midtown to get some residential high rises and become a residential high rise neighborhood.

  • @Rodrigo: More power to you. Except, you might want to read about the “big dig” in Boston.

  • John, towers lining Main from downtown to Med Center would make for quite the sight:

    http://www.uthouston.edu/dotAsset/1328103.jpg

    Old School, we all know of the challenges such a project would face, but wishes are still free, no?

  • @Rodrigo it would be amazing. Great pic.