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Why is Hines selling their Houston skyscrapers? Will they remain HQ'd there?

Oppourtunistic cashing out I'm sure. They bought back a trophy property in 2008 when they had money and nobody else could raise money so prices were low. Now prices (especially in Houston) for trophy properties are sky-high - see the recent purchase of the Shell headquarters by the Duncans. So I think it's a case of monetizing a very nice return.

I think Hines has been headquartered in the Williams tower ever since they built it. And they haven't owned it for most of the time.

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Although I drive by the Williams Tower at least once a week, I never truly appreciate it until I see aerial views of the Post Oak Galleria area. What a behemoth, especially when compared to the other towers around it. Can you all give me a not so textbook (I have read it's history) reason as to the awesome tower's purpose? What I mean is; was it supposed to be iconic and unrivaled (tallest building outside of a CBD)?, was it built to attract other businesses to create supertalls in the area?, what if any is its vacancy rate?, was it one of several similar, smaller towers to be built in the immediate area?, will any developer break the Post Oak glass ceiling in height so to speak with a future tower? Hope my questions make some sense. I have just always wondered about this iconic (one of my favorites after the BoA tower) building which seems to embody Htown's notoriety to erect monoliths amid cow pastures; which I think is one thing that makes this city unique and cool BTW. Any and all thoughts welcome.

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 "The 64-foot high water wall corresponds to the 64-story height of the tower and ... to the all-time high on the stock market for Transco stock."  -  Jack Bowen, then-Transco CEO

 

"Due to the cost of the land, which was substantially more expensive than most suburban sites because it was assembled by Hines from small pieces over five years, Hines knew he had to 'intensify the use' of the proposed mall, which led to three key new ideas...  

When the original Galleria opened [in 1970], Hines revealed his larger aspirations by declaring, 'A shopping center it is not.  It will be a new downtown.'"  (de Jong, The New SubUrbanisms, 152-3)

 

Not quite in a pasture, Philip Johnson had already been building slick glass towers in the neighborhood at Post Oak Central (1975-), but you are right that it skipped several stages of successional growth and went straight to climax condition.

 

Hines had learned - in Houston - that an advertising image was more important to a building's leasing rates than builders of International-Style oblongs had realized.  So accounts that chalk it up to ego (1 or 2) are not quite all-perceptive.  It is more about being imageable than about personal image per se.

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This press release came in the mail today.


 
post-1-0-44854200-1404256502_thumb.jpg
 
The Houston office of Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that the recent remodel of the firm's own lease space in the iconic Williams Tower, has received Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Commercial Interiors Rating System. 
 
            Hines has occupied levels 49 and 50 (among other floors) in Williams Tower for more than 30 years. These two floors, originally designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, had never undergone any major modifications. Hines selected Houston-based Kirksey Architecture to design the renovation, chiefly because their vision included adaptive reuse of existing materials. Another major design component was the creation of a sweeping, new two-story lobby with a privileged view of downtown Houston in which 12 of Hines' 17 downtown projects are visible.
 
            During the remodel, 42 percent of materials and 62 percent of the furniture used for the project were salvaged.  Many materials were repurposed, including the marble that serves as countertops in each of the four new public restrooms.  In excess of 750 cubic yards of construction waste material, or 96 percent, was diverted from landfill and recycled.  The majority of the existing English Oak panels throughout the space were reused, refreshed and slightly modified to allow additional natural light into the floors.
 
            Green features implemented during the project include the installation of efficient water fixtures, which reduce potable water usage by 40 percent, or more than 75,000 gallons per year. Also, lighting-power density was reduced by 39 percent over current code requirements and ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances were used to produce a reduction in rated power that will lowerCO2 emissions as much as taking five cars off the road.
 
            "We are tremendously proud of this achievement, and we recognize the importance of leading by example and demonstrating our commitment to the environment," said Hines Senior Vice President, Corporate Operations Services, Ilene Allen.  "Achieving LEED-CI Platinum is the result of more than 18 months of preparing, planning, and execution by our architects, contractors and employees.
 
            "Reflecting our firm's guiding principles-which state that we will strive to be the industry leader in sustainability-this new certification of our corporate headquarters is symbolic of the commitment we have to deliver the highest quality to tenants, owners and investors," added Hines Global Sustainability Officer, Gary Holtzer.
 
Williams Tower is a 1.5 million-square-foot, 64-story office building that was developed by Hines in 1982 and has been managed by Hines since.   Designed by Philip Johnson/John Burgee, the tower's familiar silhouette on the Houston sky recalls the art deco style. Clad in silver gray reflective glass and anodized aluminum, the sleek tower is accented by columns of bay windows of non-reflective glass and podium setbacks on two lower floors and four higher levels.  Williams Tower is leased to a number of world-class companies, including: Citi, Hines, HOK, Rowan Companies, Van Kampen Investments, Wachovia, and Williams, among others.
 
Hines is one of the most sustainable real estate companies in the world.  In 2013 Hines was recognized by the EPA, for the sixth time, with the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award.  In addition, Hines has received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award three times. Hines manages 151 labeled buildings, representing more than 71 million square feet, in the ENERGY STAR program.  Also, twelve Hines development or redevelopment projects, representing more than six million square feet, have been designated as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.
 
Hines is also a leader in the U.S. Green Building Council's programs, with 201 projects, representing more than 101 million square feet that have been certified, pre-certified or registered under the various LEED rating systems.  Hines was a founding member of the German Sustainable Building Council and the Russian Green Building Council, and is active in the Green Building Council Brasil, the Green Building Council España, the Green Building Council Italia, the Indian Green Building Council, the BRE Environmental Assessment Method program in the United Kingdom and the Haute Qualité Environnementale program in France. 
 
Hines is a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide. The firm's historical and current portfolio of projects that are underway, completed, acquired and managed for third parties includes 1,317 properties representing more than 541 million square feet of office, residential, mixed-use, industrial, hotel, medical and sports facilities, as well as large, master-planned communities and land developments. Currently, Hines manages 391 properties totaling 161 million square feet, which includes 89.1 million square feet for third parties. With offices in 115 cities in 18 countries, and controlled assets valued at approximately $28.2 billion, Hines is one of the largest real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information.
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I wish they would do something with the nigh time lighting of the tower. Its such an amazing  building and it would be really cool if it were lit up at night. The rotating beacon on top has not been on for several months either. Anybody know why that has not been working for a while now? 

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I wish they would do something with the nigh time lighting of the tower. Its such an amazing  building and it would be really cool if it were lit up at night. The rotating beacon on top has not been on for several months either. Anybody know why that has not been working for a while now? 

It hasn't been on for a couple weeks. Maybe a week before Christmas? There was also NO Christmas lighting on it this year. Maybe maintenance? You can tell the brown paint on the top has begun to fade and weather quite badly. It's extremely noticeable from the west side looking east.

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Does anyone else ever wish this had been built downtown? Could you guys imagine how it would look in the skyline?

It would be an attractive addition to the downtown skyline but it would also be partially obscured by other tall buildings. I like it where it is. For this Houston native and resident for 50+ years, it is awe inspiring to see it from say, the Sidney Sherman Bridge over the ship channel, and recall Houston's remarkable ascent as a major urban presence in my lifetime. 

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Does anyone else ever wish this had been built downtown? Could you guys imagine how it would look in the skyline?

 

No, because its location is unique and makes Houston different than other cities. I also say that about other tall Houston buildings that are in unexpected places. What other US city has a crazy tall building that far away from downtown? None.

 

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Guys...guys. I think we know what they are really doing up there :P

 

(with some help from photoshop of course)

 

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Is that Mount Houston in the background?

 

West Mount Houston, to be precise...  :ph34r:

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There is definitely something white or silver being applied to the very top of this building. I am not sure I like it.

 

For the first time I can clearly see this silver'ish color change on the crown from my balcony.  I highly suspect its related to a new lighting feature to be unveiled Thanksgiving night at the Uptown Holiday Lighting.

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Not sure when it started back up but it's definitely up and running again. Hard to tell since this is a long exposure but you can clearly see it lit up here (shameless plug):

23794141109_699e719fd6_k.jpgWilliams Tower by Bryan Malloch, on Flickr

Plug away. At least you don't make us click on the link to view the image like some people make us click their twitters. You know who you are.
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Is that from SkyHouse?

Great photo btw.

Thank you, sir.  Indeed it is from Skyhouse.  21st floor to be exact.

 

Plug away. At least you don't make us click on the link to view the image like some people make us click their twitters. You know who you are.

Haha thanks.  I try to be viewer friendly.  :D

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The beacon is back on and much more visible on the drive in from Sugarland.  

 

http://swamplot.com/why-the-williams-tower-beacon-was-off-last-fall/2016-02-05/

 

 

 

According to a representative of the tower’s property management office, the beam stayed dark during difficulties finding the correct kind of bulb for the fixture.

 

 

“The top of the building has been enclosed in scaffolding for several months, and the light has been dark.  It seems much brighter this time, and perhaps aimed a bit lower.”

 

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Hines Reit Purchases Williams Tower

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