Shell’s Tech Center Saying Goodbye to Southside Place, Piece by Piece

It’s 1 down and 2 to go for the properties comprising Shell Oil’s Bellaire Technology Center on Bellaire Blvd. A 3.2-acre slice leased by Shell for years is under contract for future redevelopment. The tech facility’s remaining 2 properties on the same megablock — one leased, one Shell-owned — will also hit the market as Shell ceases its 75-year presence in Southside Place later this year.

The oil company had announced in 2008 that it would close the center and relocate its operations to other facilities. City of Southside Place sources said the exodus ought to wrap up by the end of November.

Listed a month ago, 3747 Bellaire Blvd. (above) is at the west end of the block that stretches from Braes Blvd. to Poor Farm Ditch.  The asking price was about $50 per sq. ft., Transwestern’s listing rep says. He had nothing to add about the buyer or plans for the property, which has 475 ft. of frontage on Bellaire and 300 ft. on Braes Blvd. It’s zoned (yes, zoned) for low-intensity mixed-use development. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.


And what of the adjacent property (above) at 3737 Bellaire Blvd.? The building is Shell’s original Bellaire Tech Center — also recently listed, realty sources say, by Cushman & Wakefield. The facility opened in 1936 as a geoprocessing center and sits on 5.5 Shell-owned acres mid-block. For many years, the simple shell-shaped logo in stone above the entrance served as the building’s only corporate cue.

Meanwhile, next door at 3727 Bellaire Blvd., another Shell-leased building (below) on 1.3 acres is not yet on the market, Transwestern’s rep reports. It’s owned by members of the same family as the listing under contract. Before Shell, the property was a lumber yard.

Together, the 3 properties formed a 9.7-acre campus of 2- and 3-story buildings. The lineup abuts homes on the north side of Gramercy St. in Braes Heights and a water tower serving West University.

10 Comment

  • I seen people in the parking lot at night doing bang bang.

  • Read “low intensity mixed-use” as strip center or two story apartments.

  • Curious about the water tower. I always thought it was Shell’s. Seems like it should be Southside’s. How does West U get to have a water tower (and their sewage treatment center on Brays Bayou) out of their town??

    Also curious that the properties are being sold in pieces.

    It will be interesting to see what Southside will do with the property. Make it add’l commercial property like the adjacent Molina’s/Antone’s/I.W.Mark’s strip center or make it high density living?

  • Colleen,

    A simple interlocal agreement is how Southside and West U can do this and it’s very common. The same way Houston stores a nice chunk of drinking water in Lake Conroe in the center of Montgomery County.

    Also think about, West U, Bellaire, Southside and all the Memorial villages don’t provide their own water. They actually purchase it from the City of Houston.

  • I hope that all the preservationists turn out in force so we get this property re-zoned exclusively for use as a LUMBER YARD!!!!!!!!! Surely I’m not the only one who cares about Historic Houston.

    Our Battle Cry: Remember the Lumber Yard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Isn’t it architecturally significant? Franzheim, Kamrath, Staub & Rather, somebody? My Guide is at home.

  • The original tech center at 3737 Bellaire does seem architecturally significant. Hopefully a new tenant decides to reuse the building. There really aren’t too many well-preserved mid-century modernist buildings in the area… Macy’s downtown, the (ugly) federal courthouse on Rusk, the county courthouse in Angleton, the TexDOT building on Washington Ave., and a couple of gem-grade buildings like Univ. of St. Thomas.

  • I’m gonna miss the BTC. Had a few training classes here, was always nice to walk from home ~10 minutes away. Shell invested considerably in renovating and updating the learning center portion of the BTC shortly before making the decision to sell it – such a waste. Hope that at least part of the building is reused by the new owners/tenants.

  • where is shell going?? they are closing this and also not renewing their lease downtown. Are they moving west?

  • @Benny,

    Shell re-newed their downtown leases in One and Two Shell, now Hines has them on the market.