HOUSTON — Chevron Corp. says it is delaying its plan to build a skyscraper in downtown Houston. The 50-story, 1.7 million SF tower was slated to be located at 1600 Louisiana Street at Pease. Chevron is planning an urban campus in downtown, with its two existing buildings at 1500 Louisiana and 1400 Smith.
On Thursday, Chevron said it would not make a decision about when to start the constructing the building – designed by the HOK architecture firm – until after 2014.
From the beginning, Chevron has been somewhat unclear about the timetable for the skyscraper. When plans for the tower were announced with a press release in July, Chevron was ambiguous about the construction timetable, saying it would make a “final investment decision” in 2014 about starting this building.
The California-based energy firm had agreed to receive a $12 million economic development incentive package from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund. As part of the plan, Chevron would bring 1,700 jobs to Houston. The City of Houston agreed to support the plan by granting a 10-year abatement on property taxes. The incentives were tied to job creation, not constructing the new tower, a spokeswoman for the state told the Houston Chronicle.
Chevron spokesman Justin Higgs told the Chronicle that construction has not been canceled, only delayed and that the 1,700 new jobs will be created in Texas, as previously announced.
Chevron announced in July that it expected to start construction in time to have the building completed in 2016. That would have required a ground breaking in 2014. But Chevron said it is cutting capital spending next year and delaying the downtown Houston skyscraper and some other projects.
Elsewhere in downtown Houston, Hines is building a skyscraper at the corner of Main and Texas Avenue. Site preparation and demolition of an old building on that site is underway. Hines says the 47-story, 1 million sf building, 609 Main St., will be completed in 2017.
The downtown office market is exceptional tight. The “Class A” space in downtown has a vacancy rate of 10.8 percent, according to Colliers International.