HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Midway will break ground soon on the CityCentre Six office building in its 47-acre CityCentre mixed-use development in west Houston.
The office tower has been on the drawing boards for years, and it rose to the top of Midway’s to-do list in 2019, just weeks before the first case of Covid-19 was first identified and began spreading into a global pandemic and economic meltdown.
The New Version is Taller
The 2019 version of the CityCentre Six building was envisioned as a 16-story structure with 275,000 SF of office space over 8,500 SF of street-level retail.
The new 2024 version of CityCentre Six is bigger and bolder – some 320,000 SF of office in a 19-story tower with 12,000 SF of retail.
On first glance, some observers may be scratching their heads in wonder. The Houston office market is going through a rough patch. The city’s office vacancy rate is over 25 percent and some analysts say it’s even higher. Already a few of Houston’s office landlords have slipped into default.
But there are exceptions. In the post-Covid environment, many corporate tenants have downsized their offices so employees can work from home. Therefore, a trend called “the flight to quality” has emerged. Tenants are moving into the best and newest buildings in order to bring employees back to the office.
So Midway’s amping up the size of the CityCentre Six building for the 2024 market seems to makes perfect sense – especially since a tenant company has already signed-on to lease 65 percent of the CityCentre Six’s office space.
Why would Midway consider building anything smaller?
The first five CityCentre office buildings, which are spread among Midway’s complementary collection of restaurants, shops, apartment units, and brownstones, are fully leased.
That’s right – CityCentre’s 650,000 SF of existing office space is currently 100 percent occupied, says Midway, a Houston-based development firm.
100 Percent Occupancy
The development of CityCentre, which has been recognized for its mixed-used placemaking by the global Urban Land Institute, represents a long strategic journey for Midway at the site.
At one time, the property was a regional mall that eventually began to struggle despite its prominent location near the southeast corner of the Katy Freeway and Beltway 8, in the Memorial area.
It was called the Town & Country Mall and competition was fierce even before the enclosed regional-mall genre began to lose favor with many American consumers.
“Town & Country Mall is not just a dog – it’s a dog with fleas,” Blake Tartt III, retail expert and New Regional Planning President, told former Houston Chronicle reporter Ralph Bivins over two decades ago.
Midway bought the old Town & Country Mall in 2004. The mall was demolished and soon replaced with the beginnings of Midway’s open-air, walkable, live/work/play environment called CityCentre. The CityCentre Six building is a continuation of that trend-setting vision.
“Our plans for CityCentre’s north site have been in the works for almost a decade, and CityCentre Six is a significant step towards realizing our long-term vision for the development,” said Chris Seckinger, Vice President of Investment and Development at Midway.
Significant Plaza Planned
The CityCentre Six is not just an office building. It comes with plans for a sizable open-air plaza.
CityCentre Six and the adjacent Marathon Oil office tower (which opened in 2022) have been master-planned around a new half-acre urban plaza that will serve as “a sophisticated new entrance” to the original CityCentre development. Designed by OJB Landscape Architecture and curated by Midway’s Urban Park brand, the space will have built-in assembly seating overlooking the area. CityCentre Six’s retail fronts and patios will spill out onto the landscaped plaza, maintaining the view corridor and providing a natural pedestrian-focus.
“As we continue to shape the modern workplace, we recognize the importance of creating an environment that transcends functionality and sparks inspiration,” said Brad Freels, Chairman and CEO, Midway. “This new urban plaza, in line with Midway’s urban park brand, will offer a unique setting for professionals to connect, collaborate, and find moments of respite within the bustling CityCentre environment. It’s about creating a place where people want to be, and we believe this new addition will further enhance the appeal of CityCentre Six as a premier destination for businesses and their employees.”
The CityCentre Six planning team includes Kirksey, Architect of Record; Munoz + Albin Architecture and Planning, Design Architect; and OJB Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design.
Michael Anderson and Connor Saxe of Cushman & Wakefield have been handling office leasing of CityCentre Six. Anderson was involved in leasing the 2019 iteration of the building when he was with the former Colvill Office Properties company.
The neighboring Marathon Oil headquarters tower, which is also around the master-planned urban park site, was also designed by Munoz + Albin.
Construction of CityCentre Six is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2024, with completion expected in 2026, according to Midway..
Jan. 16, 2024 Realty News Report Copyright 2024
Image: CItyCentre Six rendering courtesy Midway
Photo by Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report, copyright 2019
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