The Ongoing Travels of City Hall’s Flooded-Out Basement Employees

THE ONGOING TRAVELS OF CITY HALL’S FLOODED-OUT BASEMENT EMPLOYEES Shell has been allowing the city’s procurement staff to stay for free in 74,000 sq. ft. at One Shell Plaza, across Smith St. from the City Hall basement they were forced out of by Harvey’s floodwaters. (They’re joined in the office tower by IT employees from the city’s 611 Walker facility, which suffered its own water damage when its sprinkler system malfunctioned in December). But the free ride is coming to an end this month, reports the Chronicle’s Mike Morris: Shell is charging $70,074 for June rent. Now, the city plans to move its refugee employees again — this time to Enterprise Plaza (pictured above) at 1100 Louisiana where they’ll stay from July 1 to the end of next year at a rate of $93,380 per month for 69,000 sq. ft. (about $1.7 million total). After that, they’ll head back to 611 Walker, which the city plans to have ready for permanent residents by then. As for the damaged City Hall basement and the tunnel connecting it to the adjacent annex across Bagby St., their interiors “remain stripped, the walls peeling or patched with plywood, the wood veneers in one stairwell warped to mark the water line just below the annex’s first floor.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 1100 Louisiana St.: Hines

8 Comment

  • There must be more to this story than what was provided. Why should the city move it’s employees to another, more expensive site (“Shell is charging $70,074 for June rent.” and ” Enterprise Plaza (pictured above) at 1100 Louisiana where they’ll stay from July 1 to the end of next year at a rate of $93,380 per month…”) plus incur the cost of moving plus the downtime? Are the areas vastly different in usability (the actual area occupied at Shell is 5,000 sq ft more) or was Shell unable to provide a lease till the end of 2019? I would have thought that the Shell site would have been given preference given that they provided free space if all things were nearly equal. Perhaps there is some potential “backscratching” going on with city officials. The article seriously lacks details and the move decision to Enterprise Plaza should perhaps be investigated by the County Attorney’s Office.

  • Wait a second. The “procurement” group can stay at Shell in 74,000 sq ft for $70K/month, but is moving to another location for $93,380/month for 69,000 sq feet? Add in the cost of disruption for two additional moves and this doesn’t, on its face, seem like a very good deal. You sure all the facts are here or is this just more bureaucratic throwing around of taxpayers’ money?

  • So, if I’m reading this correctly, the COH will vacate 74,000 sq. feet of space where the rent is $70,074/month to move into 69,000 sq. feet of space 2 blocks away and pay $93.380/month? Ummm, ok. Why would someone pay 33% more in rent for basically the same location and less space?
    And please tell me again Mayor Turner how the City is broke and we need to cut services.

  • Shell is in the process of subleasing One Shell Plaza and nrg is moving into a large large percentage of it. They likely have a short time window to continue in current arrangement versus what they need. Or this just highlights the need for new procurement staff.

  • Isn’t there an abandoned Target/Walmart/Kroger somewhere that the city could lease for a fraction of these amounts, plus an ocean of free parking?

  • Why cant the city procurement staff just get an office someplace cheap in the city limits? They dont need to be downtown enjoying class a building space.

  • Without more details, the first takeaway for me is the City’s procurement office is bad at – wait for it- procurement. Stuff like this only infuriates advocates for fiscal responsibility and embarrasses those for big government.

  • My guess is that there is an operating expense component not contemplated in the Shell numbers. Shell probably gave it to them at $0/SF net and said, just pay the operating expenses which are probably around $17/SF/YR.