Happy Birthday to ‘The World’s Most Important Developer’

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Gerald D. Hines turned 95 last week.

Mr. Hines, founded his real estate company in Houston in 1957. Today, his skyscrapers decorate skylines around the world. His hotels and residences provide places to rest and dream. His public plazas and retail centers give us places to enjoy life.

A couple of years ago, Houstonian Rusty Bienvenue, executive director of the American Institute of Architects, called Hines the world’s “most important” developer. “We’re fortunate that he calls Houston home and has done some of his best projects here,” Bienvenue said. “Most architects study his Pennzoil Place and the Galleria in architecture school. He understands a commercial building is not just a container. If you make it beautiful, it will draw in a higher rent value.”

Case in point: the Pennzoil Place in downtown Houston. Hines broke the boring mold of architectural sameness. Pennzoil Place consists of two trapezoidal towers wrapped in dark glass. Completed in 1975, the Pennzoil Place, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, 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.

With the Pennzoil building, Mr. Hines proved that corporate tenants would pay more to be located in a building with outstanding architecture. It sent aftershocks around the world and cities became better places because of it.

Hines operates in 205 cities in 24 countries around the world. The company has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,393 properties totaling 459 million square feet.

Gerald Hines

Not bad for an Indiana kid who arrived in Houston with a slide-rule, an engineering degree from Purdue and only a few bucks in his pocket. At first, he lived in the YMCA until he got his feet on the ground.

Mr. Hines built up a portfolio of small buildings around town. About 1970 he 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.

Importantly, Houstonians loved the new developments. Ladies and gentlemen, teens and toddlers – everybody wanted to visit the three-level Galleria and its ice skating rink. You heard people brag about working at One Shell Plaza.

The Hines company continues to change Houston. Its 47-story Texas Tower in downtown is about halfway to completion.  Also a new outdoor plaza, designed by HOK, is underway at the 75-story Hines building next door to the city’s theater district.

A few years ago, the late president George H.W. Bush had a word to say about Mr. Hines at an event at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

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

And indeed, Gerald D. Hines has built more than a few.

Aug 18,. 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

File: Gerald D. Hines turned 95

File: Gerald D. Hines turned 95 last week. He founded the real estate firm in 1957.






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