A Half-Century of Insights from Lou Cushman

HOUSTON – (By Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report) – Lou Cushman of Cushman & Wakefield says the full recovery in the Houston office market isn’t going to happen in 2021. The hole is too deep. A few more dark episodes must be written.

But Cushman says optimism will blossom again in 2022.

And when Lou Cushman talks, people listen. Cushman has seen quite a few booms & busts. He has survived and thrived through up cycles and frightening down-drafts in the Houston real estate market.

Interview: Lou Cushman, a guest on The Ralph Bivins Project

Cushman & Wakefield Celebrating 50 Years

Louis B. “Lou” Cushman, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, is celebrating the firm’s 50thanniversary in Space City. He opened the global company’s office in Houston in 1971 and it’s now one of the biggest commercial real estate firms in town.

Along the way, Lou has been involved in hundreds of large transactions. No deal was more important than the 250,000 SF build-to-suit lease for the headquarters of Pennzoil in 1974.

Pennzoil Place is a Gerald Hines building in downtown Houston and it changed everything.

The design was breathtaking for its time – twin trapezoidal towers with slanted tops and the structure was entirely wrapped in dark glass. While representing Pennzoil, Lou worked with Mr. Hines and architect Philip Johnson. In architectural circles, it’s called the first skyscraper in the post-modern era.

New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable called Pennzoil Place the “Building of the Decade”. Pop artist Andy Warhol took Polaroid snapshots of these cool new towers.

With the building’s success, Hines proved that outstanding landmark architecture was good business for developers and tenants alike.

Soon, Lou was across the street from Pennzoil Place, putting together a 421,000-square-foot lease for the anchor tenant, Republic Bank.

Another skyline-changing masterpiece

The 56-story building was another skyline-changing masterpiece with the all-star lineup of Hines and the Philip Johnson/John Burgee architecture team. The building, with its red granite exterior and gabled roofline, is memorable even though it has changed names several times. Now called the TC Energy Center, the building remains a major landmark on the Houston skyline.

A Pioneer in Innovation

Lou Cushman has been a part of a lot of innovation in Houston over the years – everything from influencing change in the prevailing commission structure to founding an organization called HOLBA (Houston Office Leasing Brokers Association.)

And the name Cushman & Wakefield? Well, the Cushman & Wakefield company was founded in New York City in 1917 by the late J. Clydesdale Cushman and the late Bernard Wakefield, Lou Cushman’s grandfather and great uncle, respectively.

Lou was the guest on my recent podcast – THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT. It was an interesting conversation and I wish we could have gone on for two hours. THIS LINK should get you to the podcast.

If that link doesn’t work, you can always go to RealtyNewsReport.com and click on the big blue bar at the top of the page that says “The Ralph Bivins Project.”

We soft-launched the podcast during the pandemic and it’s true – most folks are more optimistic now. Lately, I can sense the growing optimism when we are recording the podcast.


May 24, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021


Headshot Image: Courtesy Cushman & Wakefield


File:  A Half-Century of Insight from Lou Cushman


For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon  http://tiny.cc/4a2g6y  


File:(2) Pennzoil Place, RepublicBank. A Half-Century of Insight from Lou Cushman of Cushman & Wakefield.

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