The New Baker Hughes Headquarters Near the New ExxonMobil Campus

THE NEW BAKER HUGHES HEADQUARTERS NEAR THE NEW EXXONMOBIL CAMPUS Map of Springwoods Village, Showing Possible Location of New Baker Hughes Headquarters, Houston“Sources” are telling reporter Catie Dixon that oilfield services company Baker Hughes is planning to build a new headquarters for itself far north of its current home (in the America Tower along Allen Pkwy.). A new 400,000-to-500,000-sq.-ft. building, she reports, appears to be under development on a piece of land “just south” of the site where Southwestern Energy has its new offices under construction hugging I-45 just north of the Grand Parkway. That’s just a bit southwest of the site of ExxonMobil’s new campus (where the first employees are moving in this month), as indicated in the older marked-up area plan shown here. Following Dixon’s description, the Baker Hughes tract would likely be the one marked “UC” (for “under contract”) just south of the SWN site in the plan. However, reps from Springwoods Village developers Coventry Development tell her that “Baker Hughes doesn’t have any property under contract in Springwoods Village, and declined to comment on any activity on the aforementioned tract.” [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Map: Jones Lang LaSalle

19 Comment

  • It’s incredible all the activity that’s arising out of the creation of the Exxon Mobil Campus. I hope for the areas sake that the growth is sustained in a good way like the area around the Katy Freeway Energy Corridor, of course the upscale Memorial Area was already well established when the area took off as location for energy company headquarters, though certainly the location of these companies added to the affluent growth of the area, especially Dairy Ashford-Eldridge. Exxon Mobil chose a good area, with the affluent Woodlands to north and vacant land for development all around it, if more energy companies move to the area it will help sustain and guarantee that the area has smart growth that sustains like the Energy Corridor and doesn’t decay and degrade over time like Greenspointe and parts of the SW Freeway around Sharpstown -I’m certainly hoping on the former not the latter.

  • I wouldn’t dare to say that the ‘Town Center’ cannot be commercially successful. However, the way that it is depicted seems rather completely contrived and a suboptimal use of land that is also underparked. The name of it is the worst thing. There exists no town for which this might be construed as any sort of center. (At least it isn’t described as a “towne”.) What it needs is a master developer similar to The Midway Cos. that can come in and develop CityCentre. Maybe they can lie to the press like they did with CityCentre and claim that the geographical center of Houston exists in to separate locations, this being the other one. Obviously everyone would believe it. They said it, so it’s true. And the people that shop there are loaded, and so all tastelessness is forgiven on their behalf.

  • So, while Andy Icken, the head of Mayor Parker’s “development office” is busy drawing up 360 agreements for Wal Mart and Kroger to build some sidewalks, major Fortune 500 companies are leaving the city limits to set up their main offices outside Houston. How about working to retain what’s already here?

  • I can’t imagine leaving the awesome America Tower (probably one of the better campuses) for the far north. I feel sorry for the workers of Baker Hughes if this is true. They leave somewhere that’s steps from Buffalo Bayou trails and parks, walking (or very short driving) distance to incredible restaurants/bars, River Oaks, Montrose, etc. for a contrived “town center” and a commute on I-45?

  • as much as i’m all about densification to improve living standards for younger generations, i’m happy that Houston has many suburban work centers to keep the inner loop demand somewhat within reach for those in the middle class (upper MC really). can you imagine if oil companies were fighting for inner loop campus space, anyone under $150k family income would be living a long ways from the ‘trose to be sure.

  • @ Brian
    I agree.
    Far be it for me to tell Baker Hughes what to do, but could they pick a worse time to leave from their current location? It’s right on the cusp of being the first true Houston location where ppl can actually live, work, shop, and play in Houston. It’s got a grocery store next door, 3 brand new apartment complexes online/about to come online within walking distance, and what is about to be Houston’s ‘central park’ across the street.
    However, this is Houston and b/c they don’t have freeway access, they are looking for another place to office….

  • I believe BH has several office locations around town. They may be looking to consolidate into one campus, which should make the rumored solution seem more reasonable.

  • Most employees would tell you this was inevitable as nearly all the senior executives live in the Woodlands area and some (notably the CEO) keep a second office at BHI’s facility in the Woodlands so they don’t have to drive down everyday. Most Houston area employees are concentrated in the 3 buildings at the corner of Aldine Westfield and Rankin Road by IAH. The “HQ” is only a corporate office…5 floors in the America Tower housing a few hundred employees, while several thousand more work in the 5+ campuses around Houston. Of those who do work at the America Tower, a very small percentage actually live nearby with most commuting in from the Woodlands, Katy, and all the other usual suspects.

  • I agree with the comments about needing a good urban plan for “Springwoods.”
    The Woodlands, award-winning, town-of-tomorrow, has big traffic headaches today. Green space along roadways and commercial is no longer a priority (or a requirement?) Public transportation was never considered.
    Springwoods has a blank canvas: I hope they do better.

  • @HeightsDR. If there are only a few hundred employees, I find it odd why they need 500,000 square feet. That has to be a third to half of the total square footage of the America Tower and you said they have 5 floors. 1000 square/ft per employee? I find it absurd that the BH board of director’s don’t piss on the management team over these types of stupid ideas to accommodate people getting paid half million in bonuses who are to cheap to move out of the stix. It’s just unfortunate for the city. The fact that every time someone wants to build an office building they build as far away as possible just creates Greenspointes. The corridor is simultaneously exploding and being earmarked for future neglect and abandonment as the next new areas are built. As goes with the plague of unbuyable residential real estate in Houston that has simply been replaced with a new city further away, will go for commercial property. Sad.

  • Stupid Exxon Stupid Southwestern and now Stupid Baker Hughes? WTF?? why do they keep building out in the burbs….what about for the people who dont live in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the heck in Kukamanga? I wish these stupid companies stop going by this crappy suburban logic and build within the loop

  • ShadyHeightster: Because it’s inevitable with the current land use dynamics. If you have a “metro area” dependent on freeways and unlimited sprawl, large corporations are always going to move farther and farther out because driving there will always be fastest (and the central city will be hollowed out as it has been in Dallas). Hell, the fact that commenters here thinks Allen Parkway is some kind of triumph of density and walkability (and relatively speaking, it is) shows how completely skewed out of proportion the city in general is to human scale.

    If Houston does not allow itself to densify and keeps putting auto traffic above all else, the suburbs will strangle it. The oil boom has temporarily held that off, but when growth in general slows, the city will be the first to suffer.

  • JohnC: You hit the effects of this on the head, but as a company, it’s not stupid, it’s rational. Property taxes are lower and land value is zilch. It’s stupid from the perspective of TXDOT, which is billions in debt on an already too-expensive-to-maintain highway network yet sees fit to build the Grand Parkway epic boondoggle that is fueling Springwood Village and its ilk. It’s stupid for Houston , where, yes, there is no zoning, but which has minimum street widths and parking minimums that ensure that the city will never be walkable, and enables people to flee from to the suburbs from which they then drive into Houston. For free.

  • There’s a reason why big corporate campuses get situated at the junctions of freeways in the suburbs. Its cheap land that’s accessible to the bigwigs and middle management. If you live nearby, it’s good. If you have to commute further but its a reverse commute, that ain’t terrible. Mass transit doesn’t really matter unless you’re downtown and won’t for the foreseeable future (and to the extent that rideshare apps or driverless cars change that calculus, it may very well bolster suburban employment centers). Meanwhile, in the center of the city quite frankly the price of things is excessive. That’s why downtown towers are sprouting up on spec and its also why a community garden is getting plowed up for new townhomes.

    @ ShadyHeightster: Very nearly all commercial properties in Houston’s ETJ have been taken in by “limited purpose annexations” (LPAs) so that they pay property taxes to the City without receiving any city services. Springwoods Village will not be passed over, I’m sure.

  • To the extent that BH desires a sprawling campus with a lot of green space – plus potentially easy expansion – thus requiring a lot of land compared to a more vertical building in a dense setting, a suburban move makes financial sense.

    Regarding their employees’ commutes, if they are heavily weighted toward the northern suburbs and the central city, the calculus also makes sense. If they had many employees living in places such as Pearland, Sugar Land, the Bay Area, etc., then it will be more of a relative burden. This will always be one advantage of a central Houston location – we have desirable suburbs on nearly all sides of the metro, so a company in Downtown/Uptown/Greenway/Allen Parkway etc. can offer its employees a wide range of options (not that the commutes are necessarily pleasant, but they’re at least doable). As the “desirable” suburbs keep moving farther and farther out because existing ones age and the wrong demographic starts showing up in the schools, this advantage lessens but doesn’t completely disappear. Contrast this with Dallas or Atlanta where the vast majority of desirable suburbs are located within one quadrant of the metro, leaving the traditional urban core peripheral rather than central.

    @ Niche: Limited-purpose annexations don’t allow any property tax levy by the COH – only sales tax. Only commercial properties with existing or potential sales tax generation are going to be priorities for LPAs by the City.

  • Exxon is moving there because of sheer size. Southwest is moving there because they began as a company on beltway 8 so logically all of its employees already live in spring/woodlands. Baker Hughes is in a similar boat, but also is probably wanting a prime spot next to major clients on what could be called a 2nd energy corridor.

  • @John C: America Tower is over 40 floors, so BHI is nowhere close to the square footage you are assuming.

  • I think we’ve developed a new kind of activist–BANDAIDs. Build All New Developments Around/In Downtown. People need to realize that the ever expanding suburbs are one very strong factor in keeping the Houston region’s housing costs reasonable.

  • @Thomas…I like the acronym of Bandaid…but other than that I dont agree…..we need ALL developments in and around downtown….its central and makes our skyline look better so all this suburban building crap needs to be gone