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Downtown’s Facelifts Surging: Dozens of Buildings Getting Upgrades in Houston

Clouds over the Houston skyline in September 2019. Copyright photo (2019) by Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report.

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – The skyline towers of downtown Houston are undergoing a major facelift with more than a dozen major redos, along with a number of other fix-ups and the transformations of other buildings.

“In fact, Downtown is experiencing a wide array of renovations and upgrades to its office skyline. There will be 12.6 million square feet of office space under renovation taking place throughout 13 buildings, including Heritage Plaza, Allen and Houston Centers and an additional 6.1 million square feet has been renovated since 2015, close to half of the total Downtown net rentable office space,” according to the third quarter Downtown Houston Market Update.

The renovation surge is viewed as a “must” by some office market professionals. Houston’s downtown has a large number of 40-year-old towers. In order for those buildings to stay competitive as new towers are built, the older stock of office space must have significant renovations.

Some of the redevelopment efforts in downtown have involved exterior upgrades, such as the 811 Louisiana tower, which was formerly the Two Shell Plaza. Originally built by Hines in 1970, the exterior of the lower four floors of the tower were re-clad in a dark granite and the address of the building was changed from Walker Street to Louisiana Street.

Other redevelopments are concentrated on interiors and improving tenant amenities, such as food offerings. At the 1415 Louisiana building, the Strato 550 restaurant was recently opened on the forty-third floor.

Fitness centers and facilities for bicycle riders are also being built in downtown building as part of the redo craze.

The downtown report, published by Central Houston Inc. and Houston Downtown Management District, said: “2020 will be an exceptionally robust year for construction and development throughout Downtown’s office sector.”

Brookfield Properties, which owns Allen Center, Houston Center and other downtown properties, is undertaking massive renovation programs.

Brookfield is launching a major redo of the 53-story Heritage Plaza, a 1.1 million SF tower at 1111 Bagby. Kirksey Architecture is designing the renovations which will include exterior and lobby upgrades. The work will be complete in January 2021. The exterior will receive a “reconceptualizing of the arrival experience with new exterior glass curtain wall at the corner of Dallas and Brazos Streets. The plaza will feature refreshed landscaping including new pavers and integrated seating.”

Downtown Houston has 30.9 million SF of Class A office space and it has a 16.4 percent vacancy rate, according to CBRE.

Skanska recently completed a 35-story tower and Hines is constructing the 46-story Texas Tower on  Texas Avenue. The new buildings, fully equipped and glowing with new amenities and contemporary features, are attractive to tenants in a strong trend called “the flight to quality.”

Other buildings have been transformed into hotels and apartments.

Oct. 9, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019

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