Developer Gerald Hines Passes Away

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) –  Gerald D. Hines, founder of Houston-based Hines, a global real estate firm, has passed away peacefully at home. He was 95.

Hines developed The Galleria in Houston, the architectural breakthrough Pennzoil Place and many skyscrapers, hotels, residential properties, retail plazas with public art, medical towers, industrial buildings, master planned communities and other noteworthy developments around the world.

Arriving in Houston in the 1940s, armed with an engineering degree from Purdue University and his ever-present slide rule, Mr. Hines stayed at the YMCA in his early days as a Houstonian.

A Boy Sees a Skyscraper

As a child, Gerald D. Hines visited Chicago, where he saw the Wrigley Building, a landmark on the skyline. “Someday, I’d like to build one of those,” the boy said to himself.

The boy’s vision eventually materialized and his dream created environments, workplaces, plazas and shelters that touch the lives of millions.

Today, his skyscrapers decorate skylines around the world. Most importantly, Mr. Hines broke the mold of skyscraper design and development, proving his belief that memorable design by outstanding  architects could achieve significant commercial success.

The son of an electrician and a schoolteacher, Gerald Douglas Hines was born in Gary, Indiana on August 15, 1925.

Gerald Hines

Last Sunday, a week after celebrating his ninety-fifth birthday, Mr. Hines died at a family home in Connecticut. The news of his passing was announced Monday by his son, Jeffrey C. Hines, who has been running the company as President, and now assumes the role of Chairman and CEO of Hines.

Gerald D. Hines was widely regarded and frequently  honored as a leading visionary in the commercial real estate industry. He transformed a one-man entrepreneurial startup, established in Houston in 1957, into an international powerhouse, known for developing some of the world’s most recognizable architectural landmarks across five continents. With more than 4,800 employees, Hines today is active in 225 cities in 25 countries.

Mr. Hines’ practice of using top architects to produce outstanding design that attracted major corporate tenants changed commercial real estate and  revolutionized the building industry and impacted the quality of commercial buildings around the world. Throughout his career, Mr. Hines teamed with such major architects as: Lord Norman Foster; Bruce Graham and David M. Childs of SOM;  Gyo Obata; Philip Johnson and John Burgee (15 projects total); I.M. Pei and Harry N. Cobb; Cesar Pelli; Kevin Roche; Robert A.M. Stern; A. Eugene Kohn and William E. Pedersen; Charles W. Moore; Frank O. Gehry; Jon Pickard; and Jean Nouvel, among others.

“While he created many iconic and impactful developments, it is the Hines organization that was his greatest achievement. He built the premier global real estate brand,” said Houston developer Jonathan H. Brinsden, CEO of Midway. ”In terms of an industry icon, he was the icon. I had the good fortune to meet with him several times and was always struck by his graciousness, openness, and continued passion for the business.”

The Hines firm has developed more than 907 projects around the globe, including 100 buildings over 25 stories, and the tallest office towers in Texas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Italy. After elevating Houston’s built environment to prestigious art with sustainable function, Mr. Hines made his mark across the nation, establishing large local offices in major hubs, including New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago. From 1996-2010, Hines made London his home base, after  transferring day-to-day operations to his son, Jeff, in 1990. While abroad, Mr. Hines expanded into major Western and Eastern European markets, securing a footprint that is still growing across the continent. The firm also entered into Asia in the mid 1990s.

Significant Hines projects include 53rd at Third, known as the Lipstick Building, New York; 101 California, San Francisco; One Ninety One Peachtree, Atlanta; Three First National Plaza, Chicago; Five Hundred Boylston, Boston; DZ Bank, Berlin; Porta Nuova, Milan; and EDF Tower, Paris.

Hines has developed many buildings in Houston, including these landmarks: One Shell Plaza; The Galleria; Pennzoil Place; Bank of America Center; Williams Tower (still called Transco Tower by some Houstonians) and the 75-story JPMorgan Chase Tower, the tallest building in Texas.

In 2007, architect David Childs, chairman emeritus of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, said, “Hines’ attention to architecture has been good not only for the profession but also for urbanism, as his unwavering concern for the quality of his buildings extends beyond the plot of land and the frame of the site to the community.”

Mr. Hines’ leadership in sustainability has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Green Building Council, Global Green USA, and similar organizations in South America, Europe and Asia.

Mr. Hines placed value on creating public spaces, parks, water features, art, and other open amenities as extensions of the company’s commercial projects.

“Beyond his significant, impactful career and his pioneering contributions to architecture, sustainability and the built environment, Dad felt his greatest achievement is the team of dedicated professionals who have, and will continue to, carry on his legacy of peerless quality, integrity and innovation,” stated Jeffrey C. Hines, Chairman and CEO of Hines.

Two Houston High-Rises Under Construction

The Hines organization is currently building a 47-story office building and a 46-story apartment tower in downtown Houston, in addition to more than 160 other developments underway around the world.

Gerald Hines, who received honorary doctorates from both Purdue and the University of Houston, was a frequent guest lecturer at universities and an esteemed speaker at industry events. Mr. Hines was the 2002 recipient of the Urban Land Institute’s Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development and is an honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Among his accomplishments are the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston and the establishment of the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. The ULI student competition led to the redevelopment of Houston’s historic Post Office in downtown on Franklin Street.

Mr. Hines is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children, 15 grandchildren and a great grandson. Hines will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony in Aspen, Colorado. A celebration of his life will be held at a future date when it is safe to congregate.

Hines, Houston and the Built Environment

 As the year 1970 approached, Mr. Hines tackled two major projects almost simultaneously – The Galleria and the One Shell Plaza office tower. The 50-story One Shell Plaza, now called 910 Louisiana, was far taller than anything he had ever attempted. He passed the double risk-test, receiving acclaim around the world and major commercial success.

The Galleria, an innovative three-level enclosed mall and mixed-use development was an instant hit with Houstonians and soon became an international tourist attraction with its high-end retailers registering noteworthy sales receipts.

Adjacent to the Galleria, Hines developed the 64-story Transco Tower, later renamed Williams Tower. The tower was accompanied by The Water Wall, a 64-foot tall, curved fountain experience that draws thousands of Houstonians who have family picnics on its lawn. It’s now a three-acre public park named after Mr. Hines.

When Mr. Hines began assembling the land in the 1960s, the Galleria area was not heavily developed even though it was bisected by Westheimer Road – now a primary traffic artery.

After the Galleria opened, other developers followed suit, building more retail, hotels, multifamily and office towers nearby. Today, the Galleria area, also called Uptown Houston, has 26 million square feet of office space, 38 hotels, and hundreds of stores and restaurants. The Galleria/Uptown area has more office space than the downtowns of many cities. Hines planted a tree, and a forest grew.

“In Uptown, Mr. Hines went beyond single building architectural achievements to the become the catalyst for creating community,” said John R. Breeding, president of the Uptown Houston organization. ”Gerald D. Hines brought innovation, excellence in design, efficiency of construction and sustainability to the international real estate investment and development world as perhaps no builder of our time has done.  No city bares his signature as clearly as does Houston and in Houston the Uptown / Galleria area is his grandest triumph.”

The Transco/Williams Tower development was second signature tower that was built by Hines with a design by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. The first was Pennzoil Place.

Pennzoil Place changed everything.

Pennzoil Place broke the boring mold of architectural sameness. Pennzoil Place consists of two trapezoidal towers wrapped in dark glass. The 36-story tower – standing 523 feet tall – sits on a downtown Houston block bounded by Capitol, Rusk, Milam and Louisiana streets. Completed in 1975, the Pennzoil Place, was named Building of the Decade by New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable. Pop artist Andy Warhol traveled to Houston to take Polaroids snapshots of it.

After that, developers took more chances, architects tapped into new creative lobes and skylines became more beautiful, especially in Houston.

Houston’s skyline became a canvas for Mr. Hines’ creativity.

“I  think I’ve always enjoyed building whether it was carpentry or model airplanes,” Mr. Hines said in 2000, when he was honored by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. “That has always been a creative part of my life and I needed to express it in another way when I became an adult.”

At that same Building Museum ceremony, the late President George H. W. Bush, walked up to the microphone, praising Mr. Hines and voicing words that Houstonians should know and remember —  a comment that should be taught to children and be a guiding principle for the city’s builders and architects in all future developments.

President Bush said: “Gerald Hines envisioned Houston as a city of beautiful buildings.”


Aug. 25, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020


Caption: Pennzoil Place. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report. Copyright 2020


File: Developer Gerald Hines passes

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