Texas A&M Breaks Ground on Houston Life Science Tower

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report)Medistar Corp. and Healthcare Trust of America celebrated a groundbreaking on Wednesday for Horizon Tower, a life sciences and medical building that is cementing a significant presence for Texas A&M University adjacent to Houston’s Texas Medical Center.

The 30-story Horizon Tower, slated for delivery in early 2023, will include 17 stories of life sciences and medical space atop a 13-story, 2,700-space parking structure, as well as 15,000 SF of ground-floor retail.

Houston Developer Monzer Hourani and Texas Chancellor John Sharp examine a construction site at A&M Innovation Plaza in Houston. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report. copyright 2021.

“Our rise in prominence – especially within the health care arena – is reflected with the aggressive expansion of Texas A&M System properties near the Texas Medical Center,” said Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System.

A sizable excavation for the foundation of the new tower is underway at the southeast corner of Holcombe Boulevard and Main Street. Harvey Commercial General Contracting is the general contractor.

The new building is part of a five-acre campus called Texas A&M Innovation Plaza. It includes Discovery Tower, an 18-story, 280,000-square-foot academic building anchored by Texas A&M’s Engineering-Medicine (EnMed) program, and Life Tower, a 19-story, 483-unit student housing community – all centered by an acre of open-air greenspace.with terraces, water features and abundant landscaping.

The acre of greenspace, said project developer Monzer Hourani, CEO of Medistar, is a sorely needed addition to the area. “This is a concrete jungle here in the Texas Medical Center,” Hourani said. The green plaza will be a welcome retreat for students living in the new Life Tower.

The residential Life Tower, slated to deliver in the summer of 2022, will provide housing for Texas A&M medical and engineering students and Prairie View A&M University nursing students.

Monzer Hourani of Medistar expresses his vision for Houston to be the Third Coast of Life Sciences at a Texas A&M event Wednesday. Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report. Copyright 2021.

Hourani, who founded Medistar development in 1974, said the new Texas A&M development will contribute to enhancing Houston’s potential as the “Third Coast” of the nation’s Life Sciences enterprises and research that advances from labs to the marketplace.

Hourani said the life sciences hubs in New England and California will be joined by a hub in Houston, which will have the new TMC3 campus, the Levit Green by Hines and the thriving core at the Texas Medical Center where 106,000 people are employed, including over 10,000 with doctoral level degrees. “It’s going to come here,” Hourani predicted. “This is the largest medical center in the world.”

Medistar Corp. and its partner, the Healthcare Trust of America REIT, have retained Cushman & Wakefield to lease the new 30-story tower, targeting life sciences and medical device/technology companies.

Tim Relyea of Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield  Executive Vice Chairman Tim Relyea , a Houston office leasing specialist who has closed $47 billion of transactions totaling 60 million SF over his career, is leading the leasing team, which includes Cushman & Wakefield’s William Hartman, Morgan Relyea Colt and James Gale.

A year ago, it was announced that JLL was handling leasing for Horizon Tower. But at the beginning of 2021, Medistar announced that Cushman & Wakefield would be leasing the development.

The building has emergency power for mission-critical applications, appliances and apparatuses, and access to vertical and horizontal pathways for specialized venting and infrastructure routing. It is the first medical/life sciences building in the world to offer Integrated Viral Protection’s HVAC-integrated and mobile biodefense systems to continually provide unrivaled safety and indoor air quality for tenants and guests.

Kirksey Architecture is the architect of the new tower. CIM Group provided construction financing.

$550M – A&M’s Largest P-P Partnership Outside of Aggieland

CIM Group recently announced it has provided a $135.85 million construction loan to Medistar for the student housing and parking garage at the development. The groundbreaking event Wednesday for Horizon Tower was also billed as a simultaneous “topping out” for the Life Tower student housing project

Overall, the 2.2 million SF Innovation Plaza development with Medistar and the Texas A&M University System represents a $550 million investment and  is the largest public-private partnership undertaken by the university outside of Texas A&M’s flagship university in College Station, officials said.

The partner with Medistar in the development, Healthcare Trust of America, is the largest owner and operator of medical office buildings in the United States, comprising approximately 25.6 million SF with $7.5 billion invested primarily in medical office buildings. Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Healthcare Trust of America is a REIT with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Houston’s 360,000 Healthcare and Life Sciences Workers

Houston is a significant force in medical related development, and is home to more than 1,760 life sciences companies and 360,000 healthcare and life sciences workers, including more than 18,000 biotech specialists and 25,000 of the world’s top medical researchers and scientists. More than 5,000 clinical trials were active in Houston in 2019, representing 14% of all clinical trials in the U.S., while the region attracted nearly $180 million in life-sciences venture capital. Institutions such as Baylor College of Medicine, a global leader in genomics, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center conducted $1.9 billion in life sciences research in 2018 and attracted more than $654 million in NIH Funding in 2017.


Aug. 5, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021


Photos by Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report copyright 2021


For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon  http://tiny.cc/4a2g6y  

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File: Texas A&M Breaks Ground

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