Wedge International Tower in Houston

Photo of Wedge International Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Wedge International Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
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Photo of Wedge International Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

Wedge International Tower
Also known as:Kickerillo's Building
Formerly:1415 Louisiana
Formerly:Unitedbank Plaza
Formerly:Southwest Bank of Texas Building

1415 Louisiana, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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This is one of the most easily recognized buildings in the Houston skyline. It is also the least known. An ugly brown pack of pilings by day, the structure's true beauty is only revealed at night when its unique geometry is outlined in green neon. It is then that you can see it is formed to resemble four distinct towers, each of a different height. There are two setbacks on each side of the building, dividing it into three distinct zones. The lowest zone runs from the ground floor through the 13th level. This is the parking garage. The second level runs up to the 28th floor, and consists of offices. The final stage runs to the 43rd floor, where The 43rd Restaurant and Lounge is located. It is a place where businessmen wine and dine their clients safe from the tourists on the streets below. The other half of this city block is a surface parking lot. Wedge has promised since at least 1998 that it is ready to erect a new 30 story skyscraper called 1401 Louisiana on this property, but to date has failed to make any progress even though it insists all of the preliminary engineering and design has been completed. The company says publically that it won't begin construction until a substantial portion of it is pre-leased. Strangely, a number of other skyscrapers have been built in this time, and none appear to have the same problem leasing space. To be fair, however, the skyscraper plan for that parking lot has been on the drawing board since at least 1987 – long before Wedge became involved with the property.

Quick Facts
    >November, 1995 - The green lights are turned on for the first time. Residents of the Houston House apartment building complain.
    >April, 1995 - Name of tower changed from 1415 Louisiana to Wedge International Tower.
    >October, 1994 - Wedge International buys the tower for between $25,000,000.00 and $45,000,000.00.
    >August, 1993 - A fire sweeps through part of the tower. Some people have to walk down 42 flights of stairs to safety. The blaze is caused by an electrical fault.
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