By Ralph Bivins
HOUSTON — Chevron U.S.A., calling Houston “the epicenter” of the global energy business, on Wednesday announced plans to construct a 50-story skyscraper in downtown Houston on Louisiana Street, as an extension of its urban office complex.
The 1.7 million-square-foot building will be located at 1600 Louisiana Street at Pease. Chevron is creating an urban campus in downtown, with its two other buildings at 1500 Louisiana and 1400 Smith.
The downtown office market is exceptional tight. The“Class A” space in downtown has a vacancy rate of only 7.6 percent, according to a first quarter report by CBRE.
“This announcement underscores Chevron’s long-term commitment to Houston and its role as the epicenter of the global energy industry,” said Bereket Haregot, president of Chevron’s Business and Real Estate Services division. “Houston plays a vital and growing role in Chevron’s global business. The new building and expanded urban campus will provide a first-rate work environment for our employees and help us remain the employer of choice.”
There have been rumors for years that Chevron would move its headquarters to
Houston, because of the massive talent pool and corporate energy infrastructure in Houston. But Chevron tamped down the rumor Wednesday with a press release saying: “The headquarters of Chevron Corp., the parent company of Chevron U.S.A., will remain in California, where they have been located for more than 130 years.”
Chevron said its “final investment decision” would be made in the second quarter of 2014. “Groundbreaking will follow final investment decision, and occupancy is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016,” Chevron said in its press release. It was not immediately clear what “final investment decision” Chevron was contemplating and how it impacted the prospects that the project would actually be built.
The building is being designed by the HOK architecture firm.
Chevron employs approximately 9,000 employees and contractors in Houston, where nine of its businesses are headquartered. In addition to its downtown buildings, the company has locations in Bellaire and the Westchase District.