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ricco67

1500 Smith proposal

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Just found out there's currently a hi-rise that is being considered for a plot near the continental building. The plans are for an office building at 30+ floors but are thinking of 40+ plus. I briefly saw the drawings and they look awesome.

They are also thinking of putting an urban element on the first 3 or 4 floors.

It's currently in the conceptial stage, so if everything goes well, it will start to go up in a couple of years.

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Just found out there's currently a hi-rise that is being considered for a plot near the continental building. The plans are for an office building at 30+ floors but are thinking of 40+ plus. I briefly saw the drawings and they look awesome.

They are also thinking of putting an urban element on the first 3 or 4 floors.

It's currently in the conceptial stage, so if everything goes well, it will start to go up in a couple of years.

So many teasers not enough content, what was architecturally striking about it? :mellow:

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Just found out there's currently a hi-rise that is being considered for a plot near the continental building. The plans are for an office building at 30+ floors but are thinking of 40+ plus. I briefly saw the drawings and they look awesome.

They are also thinking of putting an urban element on the first 3 or 4 floors.

It's currently in the conceptial stage, so if everything goes well, it will start to go up in a couple of years.

Can you interpret "an urban element" for me?

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Sounds awesome! Thanks for the info Ricco. I'm curious about the site. There isn't really much land available near the Continental Building. I hope wherever it is it will replace a surface parking lot rather than replacing another building.

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Can you interpret "an urban element" for me?

they want to take advantage of the lack of retail and services in the area. the potential clientele from the surrounding hotels and office buildings.

i can't give many details on the matter because few people outside of the respective firms know about it.

only thing that i can say is that they're looking at the plot of land between chevron and continental buildings/

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only thing that i can say is that they're looking at the plot of land between chevron and continental buildings/

I want a rendering dammit, what does the timeline look like for a confirmation and announcement of the project to the public?

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they want to take advantage of the lack of retail and services in the area. the potential clientele from the surrounding hotels and office buildings.

i can't give many details on the matter because few people outside of the respective firms know about it.

only thing that i can say is that they're looking at the plot of land between chevron and continental buildings/

Wow, that seems like a small piece of land. . . and unfortunately, it's currently green space :-(

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they want to take advantage of the lack of retail and services in the area. the potential clientele from the surrounding hotels and office buildings.

i can't give many details on the matter because few people outside of the respective firms know about it.

only thing that i can say is that they're looking at the plot of land between chevron and continental buildings/

I was actually wondering what you meant in general. But I guess you kind of explained what an urban element is anyway...retail, entertainment, etc????

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is this the location (above the arrow)? or am i totally off?:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1600+smith+7...m=1&layer=t

That's the location.

There's almost an acre of space there, between 1400 Smith, Smith Street, Continental Center and the parking garage. The complex was designed for a tower to go there -- at a different angle than Continental Center I. Would use the existing parking structure. The building would be 700,000 sf+ and could include a 40,000 sf trading floor if they needed to include it in the design. Would be 2.5-3 years to completion, assuming they build it.

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Must be the same one rumored to be contemplated by Brookfield. Regarding the drawings, what was awesome about them? Is it another flat-top? Does it have some sort of crown?

At 40+ floors, how visible would it be from the west, since that might the clearest angle to see it.

Edited by GovernorAggie

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That's the location.

There's almost an acre of space there, between 1400 Smith, Smith Street, Continental Center and the parking garage. The complex was designed for a tower to go there -- at a different angle than Continental Center I. Would use the existing parking structure. The building would be 700,000 sf+ and could include a 40,000 sf trading floor if they needed to include it in the design. Would be 2.5-3 years to completion, assuming they build it.

Interesting! Would love to see the original development plans. Your post got me interested in the owner of 1600 Smith (Continental Center 1). I discovered it is owned by Trizec Hahn / Brookfield Properties. Found some very interesting stuff on the "Development" page of the Brookfield Properties website:

-- "1500 Smith Street, 800,000 square feet. The last prime developable site on Smith Street in Houston's CBD core, 1500 Smith Street is strategically located between two premier Brookfield properties, Continental Center 1 and 4 Allen Center (1400 Smith). The site could accommodate a 800,000 - one million square foot office tower with 25,000-30,000 square foot floor plates; sky bridges would link 1500 Smith to both adjoining centers. In-place infrastructure exists, including parking and loading dock."

-- "Gateway Site, 700,000 square feet. A 2.5 acre parcel, the Gateway site would have a sky bridge connection to the Allen Center and unobstructed views to the west. The Gateway site is surrounded by historical parkland to the north, low-rise residential to the west and the Metropolitan Racquet Club garage to the south."

-- "Allen Center Garage, 700,000 square feet. Located in the heart of the Allen Center/Cullen Center complex, the Allen Center Garage could accommodate an office building above it. The site fronts on historic Antioch Park and would have unobstructed views to the west."

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Goodness! I'm gone for a few hours and you guys are really speculating!

Honest guys, I want to find out more before he leaves town and I'm hoping to get as much info as I can during his stay. Needless to say, I'm NOT supposed to be privy to this information, so I'm sure it can be easily traced if too much info came out.

The google map is the exact spot he was referring to. Give me a couple of days and see what else I can sniff out.

Who knows, maybe Houston Development might be able to sniff more out than I can.

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Maybe UrbaNerd's post deserves its own thread. Different project, but equally and perhaps more significant.

Roche Dinkeloo & Assoc. is one of the greatest firms of the past thirty years. Philip Johnson level.

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MainStreetHouston_1.jpg

Is this it?

close, but no. i hope to get another peek today.

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Well, aren't we filled with double-naught spies lately.

As for the project that Ricco is talking about... it seems that lot is awful small and cramped, given its potential position against the existing highrises and potential issues with parking and so forth.

But then again, it's really hard to gauge such things without seeing at least a computer image of the building at completion.

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Quick pic of all three sites:

sites001mk2.jpg

And on a slightly different note....

http://www.krjda.com/text/projectDetail.cfm?id=141

Two of your three sites are in the wrong locations. Your blue marking should be on the parking garage just to the north (the one that is attached to 1400 Smith via skywalk). Your orange marking should be even further north and a little west, just to the north of the parking garage that has the racquet club on top (the black-ish rectangle at the upper left area of your image. I would mark an image for you, but I don't know how to do that. :-(

Judging from the descriptive language on the Roche Dinkeloo website, that design appears to be a for a past project that is not happening. ("The design was for two buildings on a single block, with the entrances to the central atrium lobby marked by monumental columns. The buildings, of varying heights, would have produced a strong identity on the Houston skyline. The exterior was to have been a graphically delineated skin of glass and smooth stone with the structure tapering upward to the stepped pyramidal tops.

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Two of your three sites are in the wrong locations. Your blue marking should be on the parking garage just to the north (the one that is attached to 1400 Smith via skywalk). Your orange marking should be even further north and a little west, just to the north of the parking garage that has the racquet club on top (the black-ish rectangle at the upper left area of your image. I would mark an image for you, but I don't know how to do that. :-(

Judging from the descriptive language on the Roche Dinkeloo website, that design appears to be a for a past project that is not happening. ("The design was for two buildings on a single block, with the entrances to the central atrium lobby marked by monumental columns. The buildings, of varying heights, would have produced a strong identity on the Houston skyline. The exterior was to have been a graphically delineated skin of glass and smooth stone with the structure tapering upward to the stepped pyramidal tops.

Goddard/Heritage Plaza is planning a parking garage on the property between Bagby, Dallas and Clay, across from the Doubletree.

Brookfield's Gateway Site is across the street, between I-45, Bagby, and Clay?

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Goddard/Heritage Plaza is planning a parking garage on the property between Bagby, Dallas and Clay, across from the Doubletree.

Brookfield's Gateway Site is across the street, between I-45, Bagby, and Clay?

I would describe it as I-45, Clay, and Dallas (directly across Dallas from the Allen Center Parking garage and the Metropolitan Racquet Club parking garage, and directly across Clay from the Goddard/Heritage site you speak of, and man, what a waste of property it would be to build just a parking garage on that site... but I digress.)

Edited by Houston19514

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Two of your three sites are in the wrong locations. Your blue marking should be on the parking garage just to the north (the one that is attached to 1400 Smith via skywalk). Your orange marking should be even further north and a little west, just to the north of the parking garage that has the racquet club on top (the black-ish rectangle at the upper left area of your image. I would mark an image for you, but I don't know how to do that. :-(

Judging from the descriptive language on the Roche Dinkeloo website, that design appears to be a for a past project that is not happening. ("The design was for two buildings on a single block, with the entrances to the central atrium lobby marked by monumental columns. The buildings, of varying heights, would have produced a strong identity on the Houston skyline. The exterior was to have been a graphically delineated skin of glass and smooth stone with the structure tapering upward to the stepped pyramidal tops.

Ah, oops. And yeah, I just wanted to post that link to something I found interesting.

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Ah, oops. And yeah, I just wanted to post that link to something I found interesting.

And it was very interesting indeed. I wish they had a little more info about it on their website. Like, when it was proposed, by whom, etc.

Roche Dinkeloo has done some great work, including the Conoco HQ. I just read an article from Cite magazine about the Conoco HQ. Very interesting and I had really not previously been aware of how great the architecture was out there. The article is included in the RDA book "Ephemeral City" (I think that's the name)

Edited by Houston19514

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Kevin Roche did the United Nations Plaza Hotel in New York.

Hist017a.jpg

Disregard previous versions of this post; H-Town Man was confused.

Edited by H-Town Man

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I would describe it as I-45, Clay, and Dallas (directly across Dallas from the Allen Center Parking garage and the Metropolitan Racquet Club parking garage, and directly across Clay from the Goddard/Heritage site you speak of, and man, what a waste of property it would be to build just a parking garage on that site... but I digress; I guess they may not want to build a tower that would obstruct the views from Heritage Plaza.)

I hope this .jpg works (haven't posted a pic before). If not, let me know. It shows where definitely the Heritage lot is, and where Goddard/Heritage is planning a garage.

Next to it with the ?? -- that's the Brookfield office location #2/the Gateway Site?

post-3521-1172779866.jpg

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I would describe it as I-45, Clay, and Dallas (directly across Dallas from the Allen Center Parking garage and the Metropolitan Racquet Club parking garage, and directly across Clay from the Goddard/Heritage site you speak of, and man, what a waste of property it would be to build just a parking garage on that site... but I digress; I guess they may not want to build a tower that would obstruct the views from Heritage Plaza.)

I hope this .jpg works (haven't posted a pic before). If not, let me know. It shows where definitely the Heritage lot is, and where Goddard/Heritage is planning a garage.

Next to it with the ?? -- that's the Brookfield office location #2/the Gateway Site?

Yea, I think you got it. The proportions don't look quite right on that particular map. You can get a better idea of the size if you use live search, yahoomaps or mapquest and look at the satellite view. And the building marked "Allen Center Garage" is the parking building that can have an office building built on top of it.

Edited by Houston19514

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okay, this is really the only thing I know, I tried to pry information out of him but I couldn't get much out of him.

The new Tower is going have at LEAST 30+ floors.

The first two floors are going to be an "urban concept."

They are debating on the top, but they are leaning towards a "crown" of some sort and there are 3 different options they're looking at.

IF it's built, it's going to be hooked into the tunnel system.

IF it is built, it will be built in that small piece of green space that was circled by "UrbaNerd."

IF things go well, construction should be built and completed within 5 years. It is therefore possible that this could get rolling in a couple of years.

I wasn't able to look at the drawings again, but it looked to me like something with an interesting facade that looked like a combo of concrete and glass, but I couldn't tell in my 5 second glance.

From what I can tell, he looked like he was in a good mood afterwards.

Edited by ricco67

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Sounds good. I hope it is at 50 stories, with a crown. We need to light that skyline up at night!

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First thought, the rendering for the Roche Dinkeloo project may have been for the 1000 Main Tower that went up a few years ago by Century Development. If so, we lost out as a city as the Roche design is much more cutting edge than the box we got.

Second thought, what a total waste to build a garage only facility across from the Heritage Park. That spot would most likely have western views that would never be taken away unless we tore down the Pierce Elevated. It is a prime spot for not only an office tower but also a condo tower as the potential residents would have access to the park, downtown, and an easy escape via car down Allen Parkway.

I know that before this site was recently sold, there was a general proposal floating around for a 30 story residential tower. While I understand the need for the garage space to market the Heritage Plaza Tower, I can only hope that the current downtown office market (10% vacancy) encourages someone to build a garage and tower on that spot! It would be a shame to have an ugly garage facing Sam Houston Park/Heritage Park.

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First thought, the rendering for the Roche Dinkeloo project may have been for the 1000 Main Tower that went up a few years ago by Century Development. If so, we lost out as a city as the Roche design is much more cutting edge than the box we got.

Remember that Century also owned the block across from the Humble Bldg. for awhile (that is now part of Houston Pavilions) and was planning to build a skyscraper there after 1000 Main. This may have been planned for that. But I agree, it is much better than what they built at 1000.

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First thought, the rendering for the Roche Dinkeloo project may have been for the 1000 Main Tower that went up a few years ago by Century Development. If so, we lost out as a city as the Roche design is much more cutting edge than the box we got.

Second thought, what a total waste to build a garage only facility across from the Heritage Park. That spot would most likely have western views that would never be taken away unless we tore down the Pierce Elevated. It is a prime spot for not only an office tower but also a condo tower as the potential residents would have access to the park, downtown, and an easy escape via car down Allen Parkway.

I know that before this site was recently sold, there was a general proposal floating around for a 30 story residential tower. While I understand the need for the garage space to market the Heritage Plaza Tower, I can only hope that the current downtown office market (10% vacancy) encourages someone to build a garage and tower on that spot! It would be a shame to have an ugly garage facing Sam Houston Park/Heritage Park.

Hopefully, they will at least build an attractive garage that can later have an office and/or residential tower added on top.

What is the actual status of this proposed garage anyway? Does anyone know? Perhaps with the tightening office market they will build a garage and tower... (could they build enough garage there to handle the parking needs of Heritage Plaza and a new tower, I wonder?)

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okay, this is really the only thing I know, I tried to pry information out of him but I couldn't get much out of him.

The new Tower is going have at LEAST 30+ floors.

The first two floors are going to be an "urban concept."

They are debating on the top, but they are leaning towards a "crown" of some sort and there are 3 different options they're looking at.

IF it's built, it's going to be hooked into the tunnel system.

IF it is built, it will be built in that small piece of green space that was circled by "UrbaNerd."

IF things go well, construction should be built and completed within 5 years. It is therefore possible that this could get rolling in a couple of years.

I wasn't able to look at the drawings again, but it looked to me like something with an interesting facade that looked like a combo of concrete and glass, but I couldn't tell in my 5 second glance.

From what I can tell, he looked like he was in a good mood afterwards.

ricco, did you get a chance to see who the architect is?

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ricco, did you get a chance to see who the architect is?

I'm afraid not. We exchanged names, and promptly forgot it. It was only after he was looking back at the skyline and I was inquiring if something was wrong when he started to tell me the details.

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Well, HAIFers, I can't imagine Houston going for long without a new office tower of 50+ floors. If you work downtown as I do, you immediately notice the lack of parking, the buildings are totally leased out and while Class A space is available, it is in smaller increments, not huge blocks any more. That is a good thing that I believe will bring a brand new, totally desirable 21st century tower that law firms and corporations will be licking their chops to move into. I believe downtown is ready for 2 or 3 50-80 story buildings to move into the 21st century. Let's think back a few years ... say 1997 ... now I view downtown Houston as progressive, getting better and ready to roll. B)

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If we're talking 80 stories, we're likely talking another thousand footer, which seems a very remote possibility at best given economic concerns and general preferences by large firms these days in lieu of the 9-11 tragedy. 80 stories also would equate to somewhere around 2.0 - 2.2 million square feet, I suppose, depending on how much of it is dedicated to office space and how much of it to parking, retail and/or residential. Again, seems unlikely but not impossible.

What seems more likely is a couple of new towers in the 40-50 story range. A good 50-story building could get you in the 700-foot range, which would certainly have a significant impact on the skyline.

But this all seems a ways off. The key is to maintain the current vacancy rate that we have (or improve upon it) over the next 12-24 months. That would almost guarantee significant new construction starting before the next decade.

Edited by The Great Hizzy!

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The economics of the downtown market favors 30-40 stories. Going over forty stories your costs start increasing much faster than returns on rent - elevators take up a bigger footprint, weight requires more steel, etc. Usually when a tower over 40 stories gets built, it's because a company is looking to make a statement, and most energy companies aren't looking to do that right now what with all the criticism of them raking in profits. Even Enron, which was more visionary than anyone in the last twenty years as far as wanting to enhance Houston architecturally, only chose a 40 story design when they built their tower. I'll be happy if we get one 40 story building in the next year or two.

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i've had more fun reading this thread than any from recent memory. the speculation, the "spies" and the insiders really are keeping this thread interesting. it will be great fun when a new tower is announced.

thanks ricco.

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i've had more fun reading this thread than any from recent memory. the speculation, the "spies" and the insiders really are keeping this thread interesting. it will be great fun when a new tower is announced.

thanks ricco.

Not a problem, I just wished I could have been able to pry more information out of him, but you could tell he was anxious to tell someone. It was only after I casually mentioned the vacancy rate downtown his jaw drop and became more talkative.

I read people quite well and I knew that if I phrased things carefully I could get quite a bit of info from him and I think he shared more than he intended to.

Now if I could have gotten him to tell me what the benchmark dates, we could have had other people have an ear to the ground for any other signals.

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I'd like to see at LEAST 50 stories... anything smaller (30 to 40 stories) is nice, but it just doesn't stand out as much. I love how Philly (my former home) is building a new "tallest"... the Comcast Center. They don't even really need all of the office space... they are actually turning floors in one of their other tall office buildings (Liberty 1 or Liberty 2) into condos!

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Ricco...any new info on this that you're allowed to release?

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This my sound like a dumb question, but if none of you mind, humor me. With all the new towers proposed, what keeps these firms from just building one or two 80-90 story towers?

Houston needs at least ONE iconic building and I think that is a way to do it. Im all for density, but I think you can make density by putting stores, bars ,or what have you in DT. Also, with the sudden willingness to build residential towers DT, the density will come. So again, I ask, why not 1 maybe 2 80-90 story office towers?

Second, what keeps developers here from desinging something iconic (just in design, not height) here in Houston. We have more than enough boxes. What wiil it take for someone to come in and just totally redefine the Houston skyline?

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This my sound like a dumb question, but if none of you mind, humor me. With all the new towers proposed, what keeps these firms from just building one or two 80-90 story towers?

Houston needs at least ONE iconic building and I think that is a way to do it. Im all for density, but I think you can make density by putting stores, bars ,or what have you in DT. Also, with the sudden willingness to build residential towers DT, the density will come. So again, I ask, why not 1 maybe 2 80-90 story office towers?

Second, what keeps developers here from desinging something iconic (just in design, not height) here in Houston. We have more than enough boxes. What wiil it take for someone to come in and just totally redefine the Houston skyline?

cost increases exponentially per floor.

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First thing, can a Mod rename this for me to 1500 Smith (proposed)?

woolie got it on the head.

The only place where I think just building higher when possible is currently feasible (even with its increased costs per floor) is in the medical center. Just about every building that is put up, it is immediately gobbled up.

Besides, our insurance pays for most of it anyway.

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This my sound like a dumb question, but if none of you mind, humor me. With all the new towers proposed, what keeps these firms from just building one or two 80-90 story towers?

Houston needs at least ONE iconic building and I think that is a way to do it. Im all for density, but I think you can make density by putting stores, bars ,or what have you in DT. Also, with the sudden willingness to build residential towers DT, the density will come. So again, I ask, why not 1 maybe 2 80-90 story office towers?

Second, what keeps developers here from desinging something iconic (just in design, not height) here in Houston. We have more than enough boxes. What wiil it take for someone to come in and just totally redefine the Houston skyline?

Sounds good, like the Arch in St. Louis. Doesn't serve any real purpose, but defines a city. You can see it for miles too, so you know...see the Arch and think: St. Louis!

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^^^ Exactly. Dont get me wrong, I know Houston has it's gems like BoA, Texaco, and Penzoil. Those are buildings that skyscraper geeks like us know. I want something that the average person who dosen't give a flip about buildings can see on tv and go, that's Houston. Like Spaceneedle=Seattle, TransAmerica=San Francisco, Sears Tower=Chicago, and as you said Arch=St. Louis.

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