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Realty News Report’s Legends of Real Estate Awards: Commercial Project of the Year – 609 Main at Texas, Gerald D. Hines

THE LEGENDS OF REAL ESTATE AWARDS 2016 – Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report, has selected the most significant people, projects, deals and ideas of the Houston real estate market for 2016. These aren’t necessarily the largest or the first. But the deals point to future trends, potential gold mines, noble visions and notable accomplishments.

Construction shot of 609 Main at Texas tower which will open in early 2017. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins

Construction shot of 609 Main at Texas tower which will open in early 2017. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins

LEGEND: COMMERCIAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR – 609 Main at Texas by Hines. The 609 Main at Texas tower is the newest arrival on the Houston skyline by the Hines firm, a company founded by Gerald D. Hines in 1957. Mr. Hines, who is 91 years old, shaped Houston’s downtown skyline, erecting several skyscrapers over the years. This 48-story, 1,050,000-SF office tower will be a crowning achievement when it opens in early 2017. The building, designed by the Pickard Chilton architecture firm, is topped with a diagonal crown – a new landmark for Houston and Main Street. The building, with rooftop gardens, resort-level finishes in common areas and the latest in technology, including an advanced $10 million air conditioning system, could re-define the characteristics of Class AA space in Houston. Hines, with financial partner CALPERS, started the building in early 2014 as a speculative project — one the biggest, if not the biggest spec in the nation at the time. Less than a year after groundbreaking, oil prices started crashing, rapidly falling from $107 a barrel to less than $30 a barrel and bringing down the Houston office market with it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Colvill Office Properties handles the leasing of 609 Main for Hines. The building opens at 50 percent leased, with United Airlines occupying 225,000 square feet. Several law firms have leased space in the tower, as well. No matter what concessions were granted, getting the building to 50 percent occupancy is quite an achievement given the current weak conditions of the Houston office market. Houston’s office availability rate is over 20 percent and more than 12 million square feet of sublease has been unloaded on the market. Shell Oil – and other energy firms – are leaving downtown or reducing the size of their offices and it may take a few years to get the downtown market stabilized.

Coming tomorrow: Realty News Report’s Legends of Real Estate Award for Residential Project of the Year.

Dec. 29, 2016 Realty News Report Copyright 2016

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