HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – The largest funeral home company in the world will build its new headquarters tower on the former site of KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate that was forced to evacuate as flood waters rose in its studio during Hurricane Harvey.
The TV-station site is located near the banks of Buffalo Bayou on the western edge of Downtown Houston. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped as much as 60 inches of rain on the Houston area, the heaviest rainfall of any storm in U.S. history.
After the devastating flood, the KHOU building, 1945 Allen Parkway, was demolished. And on that site, a new office tower will rise.
“The city and the people of the area responded to Harvey with fortitude and resilience.” – former Houston Mayor Bill White.
Often called SCI, Service Corporation International, which operates 1,900 funeral homes and cemeteries, will develop a $150 million high-rise office tower for its headquarters. The Houston-based Hines organization will develop the building, which is in close proximity to SCI’s current offices.
Service Corporation International is not merely constructing a new building on a formerly flooded site. The development effort comes with massive infrastructure improvements that will benefit the area.
The Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) Board, which administers City of Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Three (TIRZ #3), recently voted to authorize a tax increment reimbursement of $13.79 million for public infrastructure improvements and storm resilience adjacent to Buffalo Bayou Park on Allen Parkway.
The enhanced public storm water management, pedestrian amenities, and environmental resiliency would be incorporated in planned development of the new headquarters office tower for Service Corporation International. Officials say the activation of the TIRZ spending “enables significant public benefit without the City incurring upfront cost or issuing new debt.”
“The DRA’s support for this project is instrumental,” said president and CEO of Central Houston, Inc. Kristopher Larson. “The DRA’s development support programs position Downtown as a fair, clear, and predictable neighborhood for private investment that can, in turn, appreciate by enabling the opportunities for broader public benefits.”
A new storm sewer system, detention vaults, and bioswales, as well as sidewalk and roadway infrastructure improvements will be planned to coincide with building construction.
“This partnership between SCI and the DRA is an opportunity to do good, vital work inside TIRZ#3, which stretches west from Downtown to include Allen Parkway,” said Central Houston, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Allen Douglas. “As we look to the future, it’s important that we continue to identify ways to protect neighboring areas from flood damage, safeguard public assets like Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou Park, reduce environmental damage from storm water runoff, and enhance the safety and overall experience for the public. This project addresses these concerns and maintains Houston as the headquarters for a Fortune 1000 Company started in Houston by a native Houstonian.”
Service Corporation international was founded in Houston in 1962 by the late Robert L. Waltrip. His father, Robert E. Waltrip, was the owner of Heights Funeral Home in Houston
“This is a sound business and community sensitive gesture by SCI to keep these jobs in the heart of Houston and rebuild on its home for the last half-century,” said City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Dec. 28, 2023 Realty News Report Copyright 2023
Photo courtesy SCI
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File: Skyscraper to Rise on Old KHOU-TV Site