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Bank of America Center (Western Union Building) Renovations


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It looks like the Bank of America Center is for sale. I really like that building. For some reason I hope its name doesn't change.

The name would probably remain the same unless the lead tenant changes. I assume the naming rights are written into their lease. The building has already gone through a number of name changes related to Bank of America predecessors. I believe it started out as the Republic Bank Building.

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I'm with you guys. As long as the name doesn't change, I won't be sad. This building is my favorite in the downtown skyline as well, and it's one of only a handful of Houston buildings that I've seen in books and on posters. Whoever buys it, it'll always be the "Cathedral of Commerce" in my mind.

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Besides the name change, there's a chance the new owner won't want to keep the building lit up or they may change the lighting. However the building is highly occupied so the chance will be slim unless it goes to a much smaller business. If Hines can keep it lit up I would imagine most owners could.

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The building has already gone through a number of name changes related to Bank of America predecessors.

It was hard to keep up with the name changes. Half the time I still call it the NationsBank building. If something had to block the Pennzoil building in the north freeway view of the skyline (my favorite), at least it was another pretty building.

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is there any price for name sponsor? or is it just the main tenant?

I think it's usually a right the owner reserves as inducement for a main tenant, and is treated as consideration in the terms of the lease (part of the value the tenant receives in exchange for its lease payments). I don't see any reason the naming rights couldn't be treated as a separate right, for sale to the highest bidder - even a non-tenant. I just don't think it happens that way in practice because not being able to offer naming rights would be a handicap in competition for large tenants.

Calling them naming rights may be a bit misleading, too. I can't think of any multi-tenant building that has its "name" incorporated into its address, for example, the way some single-tenant buildings do. Which makes sense, as the smaller tenants probably wouldn't want another company's name in their address.

Others probably know much more about this - I'm just guessing on some of this based on what I've seen.

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Calling them naming rights may be a bit misleading, too. I can't think of any multi-tenant building that has its "name" incorporated into its address, for example, the way some single-tenant buildings do. Which makes sense, as the smaller tenants probably wouldn't want another company's name in their address.

Others probably know much more about this - I'm just guessing on some of this based on what I've seen.

Naming rights are pretty common even for multitenant buildings (of which most are)

Heck, Chase tower will remain Chase tower even though Chase the tenant won't be there!

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  • 4 months later...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/busine...te/5080018.html

Bank of America Center, an architectural icon on downtown's skyline, has been sold to Dallas-based Novati Group and an affiliate of the General Electric Pension Trust.

The price was not disclosed, but an industry source pegged the sale at about $370 million.

"We're believers in Houston. We recognize it's the energy exploration capital of the world," said Jerry Karr, managing director of GE Asset Management, which advises the trust. "We believe it's truly coming into its own as one of the major business cities."

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I want to buy it and change the name to "GWilson's Big Friggen Building with a Bunch of Points on Top", not to be out done by what I rename Transco when I buy it "GWilson's Big Friggen Building with a Light on Top".

I'd be a skyscraper MOGUL!

*cough*exhale*cough*

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Bank of America Center, an architectural icon on downtown's skyline, has been sold to Dallas-based Novati Group and an affiliate of the General Electric Pension Trust.
So what's the new name going to be... Pension Place? :P
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I want to buy it and change the name to "GWilson's Big Friggen Building with a Bunch of Points on Top", not to be out done by what I rename Transco when I buy it "GWilson's Big Friggen Building with a Light on Top".

Somehow, as I was reading through your proposed renamings, when I came to "GWilson's Big Friggen...", describing Transco/Williams/whatever, I expected something more in line with the theory of towers as phallic symbols punctuating the name.

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  • 10 years later...

http://realtynewsreport.com/2017/09/25/remodelingexpansion-planned-at-iconic-bank-of-america-building-in-downtown/

 

HOUSTON –  (Realty News Report) – The old and almost forgotten Western Union building, which has been encased and hidden since the 56-story Bank of America Center tower was completed in 1983, is being opened up and redeveloped.



 

The renovation of the Western Union space will add some 35,000-SF to the Bank of  America skyscraper, providing room for a new white table-cloth restaurant and other lobby improvements, says Ken Moczulski, founder and CEO of Houston-based M-M Properties, which owns the building.

The 1.2 million SF building, 700 Louisiana, was developed by Hines and designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Bank of America will be moving out of the building to occupy a new tower developed by Skanska.

 

HFF’s Cameron Cureton and John Brownlee recently arranged a refinancing of the building, which is near the Theater District.

Bank of America and CBRE will be moving their offices out of the building, which is one of the most recognizable towers on the skyline. The tower has  ANR (TransCanada) as a main tenant.

 

The building, which has a red granite exterior, was known as RepublicBank Center when it opened. The Western Union building was retained and enveloped because it many electrical connections.

 

700Louisiana-Email.jpg

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This is exciting. A white-tablecloth restaurant opening out from that grand lobby could have a Four Seasons-like atmosphere. (Referring to the restaurant in the Seagram building.)

 

That such an expensive project is being undertaken to create a restaurant space shows the new strength of downtown retail.

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This should be a cool project. I am interested to see what kind of restaurant they get. The lobby of that building is a great space and proximity to the theaters would keep them busy.

 

It would also be the closest place for an after work drink at the bar for a lot of office tower dwellers. Please commute responsibly.

 

Edited by Nate99
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  • 2 months later...
8 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

It won’t look like a medieval fort when they are done.  Of course, without the arrow slits, it was kinda useless anyway.  So much for having those walls strong enough to ward off cannon fire.   The new place will actually look inviting from the outside!

 

What's really needed is a portcullis and a moat. 

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  • 2 months later...

https://sydnessarchitects.com/project/700-louisiana/

 



700 Louisiana is a 54-story office tower that is an iconic building in Houston. Designed in 1983 by Johnson/Burgee Architects the tower included a podium that served as a large open banking hall for the building’s main tenant.

 

Sydness Architects was commissioned to add two new levels in the existing banking hall and create a restaurant in the adjacent quadrant’s two existing floor levels. The new 25,000 square feet of office and restaurant space will be enhanced by introducing new windows in the existing podium along the three streets.

 

The additional floors required adding new columns in the space, new stairs and elevators. Maintaining the design grammar that existed in the building was a primary objective of the design team. Jeff Sydness was a member of the original Johnson/Burgee design team for the building.

 

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  • 4 months later...
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I think its a shame to lose the banking hall as originally designed by Philip Johnson. In my opinion it is the most majestic interior commercial space in Houston. Interersting when similar renovations were proposed for Johnson’s AT&T building in NYC the outcry was such that the building was awarded protected landmark status and was thus saved from any “improvements” on the original design. 

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It's quite striking on the inside, but from the sidewalk the experience is exactly the opposite. This is a pretty sensitive update by the original architecture firm, and I think it will end up being a good example of addressing a building's deficiencies without ruining what makes it distinct. Of course, we'll see how it actually turns out.

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 11:05 PM, Gator80 said:

I think its a shame to lose the banking hall as originally designed by Philip Johnson. In my opinion it is the most majestic interior commercial space in Houston. Interersting when similar renovations were proposed for Johnson’s AT&T building in NYC the outcry was such that the building was awarded protected landmark status and was thus saved from any “improvements” on the original design. 

 

Apart from some windows on that side, I don't know that the banking hall is going to be that impacted, though it sits mostly empty with fewer bank walk-ins these days as compared to when it was designed. In the interior, there are two big blank wall that will be eliminated making the whole place more hall-ish.. 

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On 9/8/2018 at 11:05 PM, Gator80 said:

I think its a shame to lose the banking hall as originally designed by Philip Johnson. In my opinion it is the most majestic interior commercial space in Houston. Interersting when similar renovations were proposed for Johnson’s AT&T building in NYC the outcry was such that the building was awarded protected landmark status and was thus saved from any “improvements” on the original design. 

 

The change to that building and the proposed changes to this building are much less drastic.

 

The changes here are a lot more subtle and I think actually enhance the original design. The proposed changes to the AT&T Building was a bit too far. Then again that building is more difficult address because its just so weird. Its literally a giant dresser with holes in it (which is what makes it an interesting post-modern piece). In our case the building barrows a lot of gothic motifs that can immediately be implemented in other ways in a redesign.

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 11:05 PM, Gator80 said:

I think its a shame to lose the banking hall as originally designed by Philip Johnson. In my opinion it is the most majestic interior commercial space in Houston. Interersting when similar renovations were proposed for Johnson’s AT&T building in NYC the outcry was such that the building was awarded protected landmark status and was thus saved from any “improvements” on the original design. 

 

I agree, although the most majestic interior commercial space has got to be 712 Main.

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  • 3 months later...
16 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Wow, this is great. I wonder if there will be some tasteful awnings to break up the flatness of the façade, especially on Capitol.

 

 

It's tough to see, but there is a steel structure sticking out along the Louisiana side where the new entrance is being constructed, it must be some kind of awning. If it integrates at all with the building, it should be fairly understated.   

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Right, forgot we had renderings, thanks. Are any bigger windows being punched into the façade on the southern half of the side facing Louisiana? This would be to the left of where Nate's photo cuts off. It appears from the renderings like they should be getting bigger there.

 

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22 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

Right, forgot we had renderings, thanks. Are any bigger windows being punched into the façade on the southern half of the side facing Louisiana? This would be to the left of where Nate's photo cuts off. It appears from the renderings like they should be getting bigger there.

 

 

I think that is in the renderings, but they are not yet working on it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Was inside at this building today (Sorry no pic) and the construction walls are down in the lobby and the new interior windows are in. You can see the rough look of what this new space will be. I believe the exterior windows are installed too but didn't go out and look. If someone with some time and a camera wants to check it out!

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  • 1 month later...
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They have removed the Bank of America Center naming from the building and were breaking down all the furniture within the former BofA location in lobby as I left today.

MVIMG_20190610_124100.jpg

Edited by jermh
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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Bank of America Center (Western Union Building) Renovations

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