The Water Wall: Going Public

If the purchase deal can pass City Council, the Water Wall next to the Williams Tower will go from developer amenity and vacant-lot placeholder to actual Galleria public park:

The seller is an affiliate of Houston-based Hines Interests LP, which originally developed the Water Wall and adjacent Williams Tower along with Transco Energy Co. in the 1980s. The skyscraper, Water Wall and green space have changed hands over time, but went back under Hines-related ownership earlier this year when they were acquired by Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc.

The city is expected to pay $8.5 million for the Water Wall and the three-acre park where it sits.

How good a real estate investment was that fountain back in 1985?

The land was most recently appraised at $3.8 million, according to Harris County Appraisal District records. But [Mayor] White and [Uptown TIRZ administrator John] Breeding said the $8.5 million price was well below market rates, which occasionally have gone as high as $200 per square foot, which would have amounted to a $24 million selling price.

Photo: Dave Thomas

4 Comment

  • Good to know.

    Hopefully the Uptown TIRZ is going to spend the money to maintain the facility and not the City of Houston.

  • One consequence of this purchase is that there will be a decent public space where the 1st amendment is upheld in close proximity to the Galleria. Political fundraisers, trade negotiations, corporate board meetings, and other events that often draw protesters happen over there. Many consulates are in the area too. Plus there’s some pedestrian traffic so there’s a chance that the chanting and sign-waving will be noticed.

  • As long as Houston doesn’t enforce the loitering ordinance, the protesters will stay at Westheimer and Post Oak. More visibility when people are stuck in traffic.

  • As a member of the Parks and rec Board of the City of Marfa, a community basically landlocked by ranch-owning families that will never sell (and continually cry poverty) I can attest to how hard it is to acquire new parklands, much less those which actually might be patronized by the public. As gaudy as the Water Wall is, I admit that the first beer I ever earned by playing music was beneath this wall. An acoustic version of Sam & Dave’s “wrap It Up”. inspired by the 1985 Fabulous Thunderbirds’ cover version led me to my first Heineken bottle. We opened it on the inner front door latch of a 1982 4 wheel drive yellow Suburban.
    The Water Wall would actually make a great permanent public space for H-Town, especially in light of the ridiculously accelerating rates for land anywhere near the Galleria. – DB