By Ralph Bivins
HOUSTON – Shorenstein Properties has acquired the 45-story Exxon Mobil building in downtown Houston for a redevelopment that will restore the property to Class A status.
The Exxon Mobil building, located at 800 Bell at Travis, was built in 1962 as the headquarters of Humble Oil & Refining, a predecessor to Exxon Mobil.
The sales price was not disclosed. As part of the deal, Exxon Mobil, the seller, agreed to lease back the entire building until 2015, when it will relocate its employees to its new 385-acre corporate campus on the far northern suburbs of Houston, not far from The Woodlands.
Shorenstein’s renovations may include linking the building into the downtown tunnel system which connects many of the skyscrapers and hotels in downtown Houston.
The 1.2 million square-foot Exxon Mobil tower and its seven-story garage cover two downtown blocks.
The price paid for the building was not disclosed, but people in the real estate community said it was around $50 million. By comparison, the 1.8-million square-foot Shell Plaza in downtown recently sold for around $550 million.
“We purchased this property markedly below current replacement cost, which gives us the opportunity, once the current user vacates, to employ all our company’s core skills in capital transaction execution, redevelopment, leasing and operations to increase the property’s value by establishing its long term position and further enhancing its reputation in the market,” Douglas Shorenstein, chairman and CEO of Shorenstein Properties said in a written statement.
San Francisco-based Shorenstein owns dozens of office buildings across the nation including two others in Houston near the intersection of San Felipe and Loop 610: the 28-story Five Post Oak Park building, which is across the street from the St. Regis Hotel, as well as the 21-story 2000 West Loop South tower on the freeway’s west side frontage road.