Chevron Won’t Reconsider Plans for New Downtown Tower on Old YMCA Site Until 2015 at Least

Proposed Chevron Tower at 1600 Louisiana St. and Pease, Downtown HoustonThe tallest, least-curvy tower in the trio pictured at left won’t be built any time soon, Chevron declared yesterday. The new 50-story structure, which the oil company announced over the summer and planned to combine with the 2 structures passed down to it from Enron into a consolidated Downtown campus, had been scheduled to begin construction shortly after March of next year. A spokesperson for the company tells the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff it won’t even make a decision on whether to proceed with the now-on-hold project until 2015. The 1.7-million-sq.-ft. building on a parking-garage plinth at 1600 Louisiana St. had been designed by architecture firm HOK for the former site of Houston’s Downtown YMCA.

Rendering: HOK

On Hold

25 Comment

  • The HAIF’ers have broken into mass hysteria over this news. Quickly post something about ground floor retail to bring down their collective blood pressue.

  • Let’s face it, by 2015 this project will be a figment of imagination.

  • I mean nothing against HOK, but a HOK building next to two Cesar Pellis would be incongruous to me.

    Having it as a park looks elegant – so there will be a few more years of that (at least).

    I’d be more interested in why it’s on hold. Is it something to do with the energy economy?

  • The $12M from the state will also be a figment of ones imagination.

  • @anon22 I work with CVX on some of their projects, and I think they’ve had issues with trying to get people (legacy UNOCAL and others) to relocate (kind of like how so many people who worked downtown at Devon jumped ship to stay in Houston when they were asked to move to Oklahoma City).

  • @ Nuke – that makes sense. Given the politics of the Bay Area and the stereotypes that hold sway, I can imagine that there are many who would rather be unemployed than to move to the Land of Rick Perry.

  • Hopefully they will go forward with the tower – and instruct HOK to just copy the other towers instead of the rendering they’ve presented.

    I’m sure Chevron can find more than enough oil and gas people in Houston to fill the positions of those who don’t want to move.

  • Why do they even bother announcing these stupid buildings, pay money to architects, get money from the state, then torpedo with whole thing –make no mistake, this building is dead–what a F$$king waste of time–It should be a law: don’t announce a project until you have a shovel in the ground–moving on

  • I want to address a couple of these comments. First, the base is not a parking garage plinth. It is the building mechanicals and common area. Second, chevron is not having trouble getting people to relocate. The uptake on the generous relocation package has been right in line with expectations. I can say unequivocally that this is not a driver at all. Finally, it is silly to think a project won’t be announced until a shovel is in the ground. Permits have to be obtained, plans drawn and land acquired. If you think all that can be done in a vacuum with no information being shared then why do you bother to read swamplot? The project is on hold because several major Chevron projects are substantially over budget and oil and gas prices are below the levels of the past few years. Unreported though has been a wave of change at the executive level with the new CEO heir apparent being very cost focused to please Wall Street. This isn’t entirely terrible news though as Chevron has leased a large block of space in Allen Center and will probably take more when all is said and done. This takes space of the market that drives demand for the new multi tenant developer projects in the pipeline.

  • It’s sad the Y was destroyed for no reason

  • I suspect it has more to do with CVX’s capex surpassing much larger XOM’s this year. The cuts weren’t specific to Houston, they also “delayed” construction on offices in Pa, Bakersfield and Covington.

  • Are you FU$KING kidding me???? Chevron has billions!!! in reserves, building this building will be nothing for them–they took the 12 million and have already spent a lot of it–people were counting on construction jobs in March, realtors waiting to sell homes–give me a break, dude—Chevron is massive, the idea that oil prices dipping 5 dollars and a few refinery projects have zapped the company is absurd–the rationale above is laughable

  • Shannon their Gorgon project in Australia alone is $54 Billion which is at least 108 times more expensive than this tower and it is already late and over budget. That is just one of their many projects around the world that cost billions of dollars and take a lot of their time and capital. It is understandable that they want to make a few cost cutting measures this year until they feel they can better execute these projects. My hope is that their current investments are fruitful so the rumors of them adding 10 floors to this tower can come true.

  • Also forgot to add something to help you better understand it’s not just “a refinery project”.

  • @anon 22: the original tower on Smith street was designed by Lloyd Jones Fillpot, not Ceasar Pelli. He did the second tower for Enron.

  • I thought Tex’s post would be the best on this thread, until I read Brookester’s post.

  • Shannon, no I am not kidding you and I will not give you a break. I wonder if you actually read? The jobs are still coming. There was no major move tied to this but rather a gradual migration of jobs. You are seriously overreacting. $12 million is less than the list price of a fair number of houses in River Oaks. It takes75 chevron employee salaries added to make that in a year and there are thousands here and a thousand more coming next year. It is hard for construction companies to fill the jobs they have open now. Chevron is making a business decision to use their capital where it makes the most sense and that is on income producing investments and not, no matter how hurt your feelings are, a new building. The bonus is that in a couple years, when this does get built (despite your assertion otherwise) maybe the building will be better for the extra time it takes.

  • This project is not dead. As was stated in previous posts, Chevron is trying to stay financially responsible and waiting until 2015 after some of their major projects are completed

  • Shannon, it sounds like you have experience in capital investment, 5-10 year business plans and real-estate investment. Please send a copy of your resume immediately! Will forward to Chevron.

  • I think half the commentors on this thread work for Chevrons PR department. I’ll ignore are the nerds and their absurd number crunching, like any of you are executives at Chevron and know the ends and outs of their real economic picture and if you think you do, you’re fools, just because you have a subscription to Forbes doesn’t make you John D Rockefeller. I hope tooted right and if it does get built it will get an extra 10 floors–I’m not holding my breath

  • …and apparently they don’t need to build to get the incentive. They only need to add the jobs.

  • Haven’t all of Shannon’s bombastic statements proved to be sheer dramatics? He hyper ventilated endlessly how the Dome would NEVER be demolished–Houston would NEVER turn its backs on it blah blah blah…..He had that nasty rant about well to do wives…..He has the inside pulse of every dowager in River Oaks…….He’s simply a drama queen. Shannon doesn’t know anything about Chevron’s inner workings let alone big businesses or he would know that just because a company has billions doesn’t mean you can get a box of paperclips without requisitioning it first. Every dime is accountable to shareholders. Business 101 shorthand version.

  • I was Plan II at UT, I’ve taken Business 101 and then some–I have the right to my opinion, just as you have the right to yours, no need to be uncivil, it’s just impolite—

  • like any of you are executives at Chevron and know the ends and outs of their real economic picture and if you think you do

    You might be surprised Shannon. A lot of people in Houston work for and with Chevron. Projects like Gorgon pay the salaries of thousands of people in the Houston area. The cost overruns on the projects in Australia and the affect they may have on future projects are a bigger deal to Houston than not getting a new skyscraper.

  • Shannon, it isn’t the fact that you state your opinions but rather that you make incorrect statements and/or are completely ignorant to the people who provide facts. Yes, everyone may have an opinion but all opinions are by no means correct.