Tallest Tower in Texas Gets Chase Bank as Major Tenant – Skyscraper Redo Planned

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – JPMorgan Chase bank has leased 250,000 square feet of space in the tallest office tower in Texas, the 75-story, 600 Travis Street building. The transaction is one of the biggest leases in downtown Houston in years.

Chase’s move comes as major renovations of the tower were announced by the building’s owners: Houston-based Hines international real estate firm, and an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

The renovations will include a renovation of the sky lounge on floor 60, major improvements to the outdoor plaza and an eye-catching, pyramid-like expansion of the building’s lobby.

Chase Bank had been a key tenant in the building for decades before relocating a few years ago. The bank is expected to vacate its space at the 1111 Fannin building, relocating hundreds of employees to the 600 Travis Street building, according to people in the real estate community.

Michael Anderson, Diana Bridger, and Margaret Elkins of Cushman & Wakefield as well as Chanse McLeod with Hunton Andrews Kurth represented the landlord in the 600 Travis lease.

Chase will continue occupy a significant amount of office space at its 712 Main Street location.

Hines and Cerberus acquired 600 Travis Street and the adjacent 601 Travis Street properties last year.

The upcoming, comprehensive revitalization was designed by the HOK architecture firm.

A noted outdoor fixture on the plaza – the largest Joan Miró sculpture ever commissioned, entitled “Personage and Birds” will remain on site.

But the changes on the building’s street level – both plaza and lobby – will be significant.

“The planned changes to the building’s ground-floor plane will be some of the most transformative in our firm’s history,” said Hines Senior Managing Director John Mooz. “For several years, our team has contemplated the unique untapped potential of the building’s large plaza area. The renovation takes strong advantage of that opportunity and that vision resonated with our new tenant.”

The new entry to the lobby, will entail a redo of the existing five-story curtainwall tby ransforming its current chrome and glass grid into a dramatic new trapezoidal pyramid. This will add almost 3,000 square feet to the lobby, which had been dominated by elevators banks and, for many years, a Chase bank lobby.

Hines describes the remodeled lobby thusly: “… immense natural sunlight and biophilic qualities as the outdoors are brought in. The newly designed pyramid entrance creates a spacious, hospitality-focused lobby for tenants with updated finishes and artistic light features.”

The tower, which across Milam Street from Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, will have new food and beverage outlets that appeal to the nearby Theater District.

Hines believes the existing outdoor plaza, which had been used for occasional brown-bag lunches by journalists from the nearby Houston Chronicle newsroom, is an “underutilized” outdoor space.

New plaza rendering 600 Travis tower in downtown Houston.
A new entry and outdoor plaza will be builts at 600 Travis. Design: HOK.

The renovation of the plaza will transform it into a “vibrant urban garden featuring a variety of seating areas to enjoy, featuring increased green space, an expanded canopy, and more connections from the outdoors to the building,” Hines says. “With the addition of retail to the lobby, the plaza will also be activated by new food and beverage for tenants and visitors. The plaza space will allow for outdoor meetings and meals, collaborative sessions with colleagues, and more secluded spaces for contemplative time.”

The 1.7 million square-foot building, designed by I.M. Pei & Partners, was completed in 1982. The building, which was developed by Hines,  sits on a block bounded by Travis, Milam, Texas and Capitol.

Hines is currently developing the 47-story Texas Tower on the former site of the Houston Chronicle, across the street from the 600 Travis building.

Chase bank’s new space at 600 Travis is located catty-cornered from the Pennzoil Place, a Hines office development that opened in 1975, drawing international attention in architectural circles. Pennzoil Place consists of two 36-story trapezoidal towers of dark bronze-tinted glass with slanted crowns. Pennzoil Place, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, was named Building of the Decade in  by New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable. With the development of Pennzoil Place, Hines opened the door to more creative skyscraper design around the world.

The 600 Travis building, which was known as the Texas Commerce Tower when it opened, is connected to the downtown tunnel system, which links many of Houston’s urban structures.

Founded in 1957 by Mr. Gerald D. Hines, the Hines organization has a presence in 219 cities in 23 countries. Hines has 148 developments currently underway around the world.

July 13, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

File: Tallest Tower in Texas


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