The Hines project, 609 Main at Texas, will be a 48-story, 1,050,000-square-foot office tower at the corner of Main and Texas streets in Downtown Houston. Hines had been planning a smaller building, but the firm increased the size of the tower because demand for space in the building appears to be growing, says George Lancaster, senior vice president of corporate communications for Hines.
Without a pre-leased tenant, starting a “spec” or speculative project of this magnitude demonstrates a significant amount of confidence in the economy. But Houston’s energy business has been expanding and generating growth in other sectors for several years.
Houston, with 82,000 new jobs last year, led the nation in job growth and housing starts in 2013. The city just set another record for building permits.
Office occupancy is exceptionally high in Houston and rents are rising. The Energy Corridor in west Houston has and Class A occupancy rate of 99 percent.
Downtown occupancy rates are high in Houston office towers. The Houston CBD vacancy rate is 9.2 percent in overall and 7.5 percent in Class A, according to CBRE.
Hines said in a news release that construction is expected to take 36 months, with delivery scheduled for February 2017.
609 Main at Texas is being developed by the Hines CalPERS Green (HCG) development fund, a partnership that focuses exclusively on developing sustainable office buildings throughout the United States certifiable through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Core & Shell (LEED®-CS) program. This same partnership developed the BG Group Place project also on Main St. 609 Main at Texas is pre-registered LEED, and is expected to attain Gold or Platinum certification upon completion.
HCG has owned the full-block site, known as Block 69, since 2008. Site preparation, including the demolition of an existing abandoned structure, began in November 2013.
“609 Main at Texas will set a new standard for Houston’s Class A space, with its combination of world-class architecture, state-of-the-art amenity-rich office space in an irreplaceable location,” said Hines Senior Managing Director John Mooz. “We are excited to develop our next landmark structure in Houston.”
Designed by Pickard Chilton, 609 Main at Texas’ north and south facades will extend skyward, culminating in a diagonal crown, creating a new, highly visible Downtown landmark. The narrower east and west facades will be slightly recessed, and the subtly faceted exterior façade will be clad in floor-to-ceiling glass with brushed-stainless-steel accents. Vertical blades will be incorporated in the east and west facades, enhancing the tower’s silhouette and offering solar shading. Dramatic illumination within the east and west recesses, and the tower’s sloped crown will accentuate 609 Main’s presence on the nighttime skyline.
D.E. Harvey has been selected as the general contractor, Hines said.
“It will definitely be a significant Hines trophy building in terms of form and function,” Lancaster says. “It’s under construction, full steam ahead.”
The high occupancy and rental rates have injected a lot of energy into the downtown office market. Crescent Real Estate Holdings announced last week that it is starting 6 Houston on a spec basis. Crescent’s project will be a 30-story, 600,000-square-foot building located on Block 95, bounded by Rusk, Caroline, Walker and San Jacinto streets.