WILL SKANSKA KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSTON CLUB? A source tells Nancy Sarnoff that Swedish construction firm Skanska, which has the Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk under contract, may tear down the 1948 downtown building and build an office tower in its place. A couple of clues: the closing of the building’s ground-floor Hunan Downtown restaurant and the “Closed for Cleaning” sign posted in the window of the Travis St. Burger King. The Houston Club’s lease on 4 floors of the 18-floor building doesn’t expire for another 4 years, though. The building’s previous owner, a limited partnership controlled by Cameron Management, gave up the property to its lender last September after declaring bankruptcy a few months earlier. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Silberman Properties
However much I dislike demolishing old buildings in favor of new ones – especially when there dozens of surface parking lots begging to be built over – this building is just dull. It was clearly built with functionality in mind, with appearance an afterthought at best.
I have to agree with Brandon; about the only thing this building has going for it is that it’s old, but a box built in 1948 is still a box in 2011. That’s a prime location and a statement building would do well there, though I have to think the d.t. office market is pretty soft right now and will continue to soften with Exxon and Continental/United moves. Could be awhile before anything happens there.
Sorry, but if downtown lots were at a premium and the only option was to tear down (like in Manhattan or Boston), then I’d agree with you. However, there are literally dozens upon dozens of vacant and surface parking lots just screaming for development.
The other thing to take into consideration is the number of buildings that have been taken down in this town with the promise of something new that just never seems to happen. They then sit like scars upon the landscape. Skanska was supposed to have already broken ground on their Galleria tower that they claimed didn’t need financing or to hit a magical prelease number in order to rise. What’s the deal with that? My biggest fear would be for The Houston Club to be torn down and then it sits for decades as a black whole in one of the most dense parts of downtown. Wouldn’t be the first time…
A Burger King closed for cleaning? That’s not just a bad sign for the building; I’m pretty sure it’s The End of Days.
I can think of many buildings downtown that deserve to be demolished before this indescriptive brown box of a structure.
Aw, the scene of many a tea party or graduation luncheon while I was growing up in the’60s.
Maybe there are plenty of lots where a building doesn’t need to be torn down, but this is about location, those other ones just don’t have it.
I hope this project turns out as beautiful as the amazing building Skanska is building in the Galleria. Wait…
What? It hasn’t started? Really? I thought they were their own “bank”?
Let’s be honest even if Skanska could get a project to the finish line (doubtful) odds are in this market they’d have to hire someone else to build it. Is this another case of chasing tennants (Apache?) that don’t have any interest?
Maybe we should leave the development game to Hines, Trammell etc who really have a clue.