Is This the 41-Story Office Tower Planned Beside Market Square Park Downtown?

A reader sends Swamplot what appears to be the first rendering of the Gensler-designed International Tower: What has been tentatively described as a 41-story, 750,000-sq.-ft. office building, developed by Stream Realty and Essex Commercial Properties, would go up on a Linbeck-owned block Downtown that now is a surface parking lot bound by Preston, Prairie, Milam, and Travis; it’s immediately south of Market Square Park and immediately west of where Hines has said it is considering building another residential highrise. The reader adds that the first 2 floors of the new tower would be devoted to retail and what appears to be a restaurant; construction could begin as early as next year.

Image: Gensler

42 Comment

  • Yes, yes, and yes again.

  • Wow! That is aesthetically pleasing! Bring more of that to downtown! Move over Chicago… we are going to be the third largest city in America sooner than anticipated!

  • this is amazing. i hope whoever sent it in does not get in trouble for leaking the picture. there has been much excitement over this tower on HAIF and we have been speculating the design for months. it will really be a great addition to Houston and help grow the skyline further north.

  • Dang it! There goes my favorite parking spot downtown!

    (Beautiful building, though.)

  • Oh that is lovely.

  • This looks great! And it will be amazing for that area of Downtown. Can’t wait to (hopefully) watch Downtown come back to life!

  • Awesome design!–let’s hope it actually comes to fruition–love the photoshopping that makes the building look 60 stores next to the almost twice as tall Chase Tower–still a great looking design!

  • Very, very nice. Cool design! I love the light element. And the roofline is nice.

    Happy to see it’s not a simple 3D rectangle.

  • Finally – an awesome, sophisticated design like something you would more likely see in Chicago. Love the arc and translucency.

  • Amazing what just a few small architectural details can do to take a building from being bland to beautiful. I just hope I do not have to go the upper floors ever. The floor to ceiling windows in Williams Tower make me woozy on the upper floors. It feels like one wrong step in the office will send you flying down to the pavement below.

  • Shannon, someone needs to introduce you to the wonderful world of “perspective”. Things that are closer appear bigger. Duh.

  • The Houston Chronicle article said that there are 3 new office towers on the drawing boards… This one, The Hines Tower nearby (which may be taller than 40 stories), and the chevron building. Right? I am including the Chevron building but I am not sure they would be counting that since it already has a full tenant.
    – Also, There is the Hines residential tower nearby that could become a reality. From my understanding there is also a high rise residential tower in south downtown going in. What else is going on downtown? I know there are plans for an Allen Center 5, but I havent heard much about that recently.

  • Oh, and there is an office building going in where the Houston Club sits and there is an office building where Macy’s is (about to be torn down). All correct?

  • Now I know why Hines decided to redesign their 609 Main proposal.

  • I advocate mixed used on the first 2 floors with a large access to the tunnel system. This should be an absolute requirement. Look at Copley mall in Boston. There you have a mall w/glass windows for a ceiling and a park in the middle w/access to the subway. Why not press for something similar in Houston?

  • Fantastic! I assume we will see it coming south on 45 from 610. Let’s hope it gets built!

  • This is what I am talking about! Now let’s hope the final design stays on track to look like rendering.

  • There go the great views north from the Chron building. Oh well.

  • Andoni, the third tower is the Capitol Tower by Skanska.

  • @ Bitch – One of the defining qualities of a troll is a lack of perspective.

  • @BITCH–I was introduced to Prospective on a blind date and really didn’t care for him–in all seriousness, @BITCH, I understand perspective and I still think the image was enhanced–you may need to some prospective on being condescending, maybe you’ll like him better than I did, @BITCH

  • Chevron tower is 9 floors taller but is a million square feet larger. That is going to be a massive building. Anyone know what the shark fins at the top of this one are?

  • We’re not worthy!!!


  • Awesome – the best looking new office tower in Houston since the 1980s.

  • Nice building but it’s pretty obvious that some commenters don’t know anything about perspective, prospective, photoshop or dating.

  • Charlie,

    Those are gills, not fins.

    They double as Executive Rappelling Platforms.

  • Very nice design, good to see something proposed here that’s not the ordinary bland that we’ve seen a lot of lately.
    If this can be tied into the tunnel system it would also help those businesses on Market Square, which seems to be coming into it’s own lately. The only downside is that it will cast a large mid-day shadow over the entire park at mid day from November to February though.

  • If it casts a shadow over the park during parts of the day in the hot months too, not necessarily a bad thing.

  • @Andoni – By my count (actually Central Houston’s count) here are the current downtown office projects in the hopper. I’ll give you my best guess as to likelihood that they happen. At least in the near term.

    Chevron – 95%
    Exxon Building Reno – 90%
    Hines – 80%
    Stream – 60%
    Crescent – 40%
    Skansa – 20%
    Brookfield – 15%

    That’s just my guess though.

  • How about a residential/hotel/office supertall to satisfy demands for all three markets and build it on the block developers envisioned for the Bank of the Southwest tower back in the 80s.

  • @Drew J, thank you for that break down. I think I know buildings per their sites a little better than just their building / financer. So here is my thought process:

    1)Chevron tower – This will happen, the scope and finances need to be finalized.

    2) Exxon building reno – this should happen as well, but not exactly when.

    3) Hines (on block with Texas Tower) – this should happen as well, just due to the momentum it seems to have had recently.

    4) Site of current Macy’s building – This HAS to be happening, if you will go to the expense to demo it, you SHOULD be making good on that investment.

    5) Site of current Houston Club (I think this is Shanska Capitol Tower) – this too SHOULD be happening because of the same reasoning above; if they tear it down, it will be for more than just a parking lot.

    6) I am unfamiliar with the Cresant project.

    7) I am unfamiliar with Brookfield project.

    8) This article’s tower – International Tower, I really hope it gets built.

    In summary, there are 7 new office buildings being planned for downtown, with 1 major building rennovation. 4 of which are highly likely to materialize. Not bad, Houston.

  • Please forgive my grammar mistakes above. Side note: I really hope Hines keeps Texas Tower. I would like to save every older building in downtown as possible. Things like the JW Marriott Reno makes me happy.

  • @Andoni – You are correct, I completely left off Hillcorp’s new building where Macy’s is. I think that one is likely to happen. Maybe not immediately, but in the next 2-3 years months.

    Brookfield has plans for a tower to the SW of heritage Plaza on the triangular piece up against 45.

    Crescent has plans for a new tower on the block to the north of 1 Houston Center.

  • Now if we can somehow get rid of the Pearce Elevated….

  • . . . don’t forget about the new Marriott Marquis going up at Discovery Green. . .

  • At what point do employers decide that they do not want to be out west (or north) ’cause all the young people want to be downtown?

  • @ Glen
    I second that motion!

  • I find it ironic that one who lives under a bridge (or coral reef) would refer to anyone as a “Troll”–it seems well–hypocritical

  • How about turning the Pierce elevated into an elevated park like NYC’s “High Line” (

  • Serious question here: What’s with all the hate for the Pierce Elevated? What am I not understanding?

  • I’d like to echo the necessity of tunnel access in that part of town. The north end of downtown needs to get tunnel access.

  • 717 Texas, which is catty-corner to the southwest, has tunnel access that should hook up without too much trouble. It may also be possible to retrofit something a bit more direct through the Chron building, now that they’ve taken out the presses.