Houston’s Newest Skyscraper is Open for Business

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – The 47-story Texas Tower, developed by the Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge real estate firms, is now open in downtown Houston – the first such building for the city in almost three years.

Adding another skyscraper with a slanted top, the Texas Tower brightens the northern end of city’s downtown skyline with this gleaming contribution designed by the Pelli Clarke & Partners architecture firm.

An ordinary skyscraper, it is not. The Texas Tower has eight elevators where other buildings have six. It has park-like outdoor terraces on the twelfth level. It has stone imported from Italy and Turkey. It has an upscale health club, and soon-to-open street-level restaurants that invite passersby with the friendly warmth of landscaping and glass walls. And the Texas Tower is situated on the downtown block in a “just so” diagonal fashion to enhance the views from the building.

The new building stands amid a forest of Houston skyscrapers crafted by the late Gerald D. Hines – a legendary developer and the global development  company he founded. The handiwork of Hines: the Texas Tower is across the street from the 75-story JPMorgan Chase Tower, and a couple of blocks from the architectural breakthrough Pennzoil Place, the 609 Main at Texas, and the highly recognizable red-granite edifice that was originally named RepublicBank Center and a number of other tall Hines office buildings and apartment towers in downtown Houston  – the place where Mr. Hines assembled his first skyscraper, One Shell Plaza, over 50 years ago.

“Texas Tower is emblematic of the values which my father, Gerald Hines, instilled in all of us at Hines and will forever represent the legacy he left behind of pairing best-in-class design and engineering with innovative, sustainable and functional spaces to create remarkable buildings and to continually be raising the bar,” said Jeffrey Hines, Chairman and CEO. “We are so proud to continue his legacy and introduce this next generation workspace to the city of Houston and welcome our Houston workforce into our new headquarters next year.”

Hines, which has developed hundreds of towers around the world, will move its global headquarters into the Texas Tower, where it signed a 15-year lease for 180,000 SF covering five floors.

The Texas Tower opens with roughly 45 percent of its 1.2 million SF leased. Cushman & Wakefield represents the property, which has been luring tenants from older building even while the Houston office market has been sluggish due to retrenchment in the energy industry and tenant downsizing in the Covid era. Downtown vacancy is around 25 percent.

Workers sweep the staircase leading to the lobby of Texas Tower, a 47-story building opening in downtown Houston. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report copyright 2021.

In addition to Hines’s headquarters, other tenants include the Vinson & Elkins, McGuireWoods and DLA Piper law firms. Vinson & Elkins, the largest and one of the oldest law firms in Houston, has signed a 16-year lease for 208,000 SF over the top seven floors. McGuireWoods, the international law firm, has signed an 11-year lease for 30,000 square feet and will occupy the 24th floor. DLA Piper, another global law firm, has signed a 14-year lease for over 31,000 square feet and will occupy the 38th floor. In an interview Wednesday, Hines’ managing director Seth Flechsig said another new tenant has agreed to lease a portion of one of the 30,000 SF floors – a transaction that should be announced shortly.

The Texas Tower sits on a block bounded by Texas Avenue, Milam Travis and Prairie street. It’s the site of the former Houston Chronicle building, which was acquired for $50 million in 2015 and demolished..

Advancing the Art of Creating Spaces

John Mooz, senior managing director at Hines, has invested a great deal of time and planning to make this building demonstrate a contemporary response to the office market and the latest advancements and current challenges in the skyscraper business. It’s an office building for the 2020s with a style that contrasts with the fortress-like exteriors of the 1980s or the hermetically sealed towers of the 1990s.

Open-air terrace on the 12th floor of Hines’ Texas Tower , a new skyscaper in downtown Houston. Photo courtesy Hines.

Creating a building for the 2020s means bringing natural light into the building, giving people the opportunity to move outdoors, enhanced health and safety, the generous creation of multiple layers of amenities for the tenants and a deliberate street presence that welcomes people into the structure along Texas Avenue – unlike  some downtown fortresses found elsewhere.

“Today, we are proud to officially open Texas Tower, delivering a human-centered combination of flexible physical spaces, service-driven amenities, and innovative wellness offerings guided by the highest standards of workplace design,” said Mooz in his written opening statement.  “Texas Tower provides space for work at the intersection of quality, functionality, sustainability, and well-being that focuses on individuals’ desire to work in spaces that maximize their performance, their health and their happiness.”

The Texas Tower offers board rooms and meeting space to accommodate large gatherings. The building has multiple cantilevered gathering spaces surrounded by three walls of glass for collaboration amid long-range views of the Houston area. “You don’t want to collaborate in a dungeon,” Mooz commented during a tour of the new building. “You want to collaborate in a great space.”

Texas Tower will feature Hines’ flexible office co-working facility, The Square. The 18,000-SF facility will allow companies to expand on a short-term basis. It is scheduled to open in early 2022.

The Square overlooks the building’s lobby, which has furnishings designed to resemble a hotel lobby with a number of seating areas,  intended to create additional places for tenants’ employees to gather.

The new building has:

  • Bike parking and electric vehicle charging stations will be readily available.
  • High efficiency chillers, improved curtainwall U-values, and a unique underfloor air delivery system will provide maximum energy savings.
  • Low-flow water fixtures will reduce potable water use by over 47% compared to code requirements.
  •  A rainwater harvesting and condensate recovery system will produce 100% of the irrigation required.
  • Underfloor HVAC system puts comfort choices in the hands of occupants.

Texas Tower, 845 Texas Ave, has been certified LEED Platinum and has met standards to earn labels by WiredScore and WELL Building Standards.

Located adjacent to the Theater District, the tower will have a 6,410-SF restaurant called “etta” led by What If Syndicate partner and two-time Michelin-starred chef, Danny Grant. The group has also committed to a second concept to be known as Café Sophie that will occupy 2,000 SF in Texas Tower’s pavilion area.

The restaurants will open in 2022. But the office tower opened by the 2021 deadline  – quite an accomplishment considering the catastrophic emergence of Covid last year and the worldwide supply chain crisis this year, Mooz said.

Hines has a presence in 255 cities in 27 countries and it currently has more than 171 developments underway around the world. Over the years, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,486 properties, totaling over 492 million SF.

Dec. 16, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

File: Hines. Houston’s Newest Skyscraper is Open for Business.

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