Memorial City Bally, Blast! Site Will Become Air Liquide Office Tower Sandwich

Proposed Air Liquide Center, 9811 and 9807 Katy Fwy., Memorial City, Houston

Former Memorial Location of Bally Total Fitness, 9801 Katy Fwy., HoustonThat new office tower slated for the site of the 12-year-old Bally’s, then Blast! Fitness building  (pictured at left) at the northeast corner of the Memorial City Mall will be the new American corporate headquarters of industrial gas manufacturer Air Liquide. And it’ll be 2 buildings, actually: A 452,000-sq.-ft. 20-story tower designed by Morris Architects in back, and a 145,000-sq.-ft.12-story office building designed by Gensler in front, facing the I-10 feeder road. It’ll be called Air Liquide Center, but as shown in the rendering above, the core of the 2-building sandwich will be an 8-level parking garage.

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Blast! and the other retail tenants of the existing building are long gone, but 3 are scheduled to return to spots in the ground-floor feeder-road strip-retail portion of the front building at 9807 Katy Fwy.: Starbucks, Le Peep, and T.N. Tailor Alterations. Air Liquide will move operations from the 2700 Post Oak office tower in the Galleria area and take up 222,000 sq. ft. of the new buildings.

Photo and rendering: Metro National

Gas HQ by the Katy Freeway

5 Comment

  • So another expansion of the Katy Freeway is apparently now part of this project. There are 6 eastbound lanes on the feeder in that drawing but only 3 there today.

  • I wish the architecture was better.

  • Why must all these developers hire Gensler or Morris, both paragons of the blandest architectural mediocrity. These buildings are completely dull, they remind me of all the buildings thrown up on the Katy in the 80′s. I suppose it could have been worse, they could have topped it hideously like the Memorial Hermann building, I mean what the hell is that blue thing anyway?–A portal for Tom Cruise to be beamed up to meet L. Ron Hubbard?

  • Houston companies are replacing a vast overabundance of past generation office buildings in no man’s land due to their bland dated designs to create a new generation of office buildings with bland dated designs. Why even spend all that money? At least Enron did something right.

  • @ Shannon & John C: Office developers build bland new office buildings the way they build them (and as opposed to putting lipstick on the pig of an old Class C building, which also happens) because simple boxy buildings are cheaper to build, have efficient floor plans, are energy efficient, are easy to fill, and can be more readily financed or sold to REITs once they’re full. Office space is a commodity, an instrument of doing business.

    Also…if you read the article about the intent of Post Properties to sell the Rice Lofts, you might correctly surmise that the same is true of housing. Only rich people (and some governments) get to exist really far outside the box, and then only if they desire to; but rich people don’t often get rich by not fitting in. So there’s that.