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800 Bell St. (Former Exxon Building) Updates


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Exxon Building, Love it or hate it?  

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  1. 1. Exxon Building, Love it or hate it?

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Those fins aren't structural. There's no way they could become balconies

Ah, really? I wasn't sure about what the fins could support. Not that it really matters at this point given Shoresteins plans to deface the tower and maintain its use as an office tower.. Hopefully we aren't looking at a vacant 1+ million sq ft skyscraper in downtown for very long...

Edited by cloud713
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I won't lie - I love this building's shape and style.  If it had floor to ceiling glass and the shades, I think it would be exceptional.   The skyscraper that the main characters in the movie Inception lived in...it was very similar to this on the outside and was very cool.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i would expect next to no movement on this in the near term... things are starting to get reeeaaal ugly. anyone blowing sunshine up your keester is clueless.

 

I guess this gives me more time to get some pictures of it before they go all nip/tuck on it.  Anybody on here in a north-facing room at 2016 Main??  Will pay beer in exchange for balcony access :)

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i would expect next to no movement on this in the near term... things are starting to get reeeaaal ugly. anyone blowing sunshine up your keester is clueless.

 

Agreed. Inflation adjusted, oil prices are now below 1990 and 2000 levels: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2016/01/is-oil-cheap.html

 

I just don't see any viable office in this market at all.

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I guess this gives me more time to get some pictures of it before they go all nip/tuck on it.  Anybody on here in a north-facing room at 2016 Main??  Will pay beer in exchange for balcony access :)

 

sometime last year it was repeated that shorenstein was already committed to reskinning the building but i have no idea if that's even viable anymore.

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sometime last year it was repeated that shorenstein was already committed to reskinning the building but i have no idea if that's even viable anymore.

 

Would Shorenstein seek out tenants at much reduced rates on a shorter-term basis to recoup some of their holding costs? I understanding keeping a parking lot as is to keep property taxes, maintenance, and liability costs down, but holding a vacant skyscraper such as this one would be much more expensive.  This was the one project where, despite the severe oil downturn, I thought the economics might favor pushing through with the renovation to seek higher rents down the line.  

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Jgriff & Nate whispering under their breath "damn"... ;)

She's spared (For now). A real shame the city didn't decided to occupy this space. Will be interesting to see how long this downturn lasts and how long after prices rise that the O&G companies will start growing again.

 

The owners can do whatever they want as far as I am concerned, I don't really care.

 

This thing is huge though. I wonder what the economics of rehabbing it will be if it sits barely maintained for an extended period, and maintaining it well could quickly bankrupt whatever LLC was established to hold it with an expectation of redevelopment. If neglected, this could make the Days on Earth Inn look pretty and unobtrusive by comparison.

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Dallas has had a tower of similar height and vintage sitting vacant for awhile. I was hoping such a thing wouldn't happen to OUR downtown, but it is what it is.

Will downtown have had any net increase in office space from this cycle, when you factor the addition of 609 Main and Hilcorp against the loss of this building and Houston Club? Maybe just a couple hundred k?

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Dallas has had a tower of similar height and vintage sitting vacant for awhile. I was hoping such a thing wouldn't happen to OUR downtown, but it is what it is.

Will downtown have had any net increase in office space from this cycle, when you factor the addition of 609 Main and Hilcorp against the loss of this building and Houston Club? Maybe just a couple hundred k?

How much space did Exxon have at 1301 Fannin?

Might be a good opportunity to turn 800 Bell into a residential. Something affordable, give Ivy Lofts a run for their money. I wonder if the fins could support a balcony? Thin metal railings wouldn't be too damaging to the look?

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Might be a good opportunity to turn 800 Bell into a residential.

I wonder if the fins could support a balcony? Thin metal railings wouldn't be too damaging to the look?

I've been thinking this for a while, even said something about that not long ago. It's been clear for some time that more office space isn't needed downtown anytime soon.. Turn it into residential! As for the balconies, someone shot my fin to balcony conversion down saying they arent meant to hold any weight, but if Shorestien was going to expand the floor plates out, why couldn't something be figured out for making the fins support balconies or rebuilding the fins/balconies entirely?

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I've been thinking this for a while, even said something about that not long ago. It's been clear for some time that more office space isn't needed downtown anytime soon.. Turn it into residential! As for the balconies, someone shot my fin to balcony conversion down saying they arent meant to hold any weight, but if Shorestien was going to expand the floor plates out, why couldn't something be figured out for making the fins support balconies or rebuilding the fins/balconies entirely?

 

Also use tempered glass for railing on the balconies to give minimal impact to the apperance.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Not moving forward soon:

 

Quote

The fate of 800 Bell has been up in the air for some time now, but a spokesperson for California-based Shorenstein Properties, which owns the downtown building, said any planned renovations for the 45-story office tower are on hold.

To move forward, the project requires "a significant sized user to prelease the building in order to commence reconstruction," Transwestern's Eric Andersontold the Houston Business Journal. Transwestern is marketing the 1.3 million-square-foot building, which makes it the most available contiguous space in Houston.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2016/07/redevelopment-plans-for-downtown-tower-on-hold.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search

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5 minutes ago, Triton said:

With a new mayor, I think that's probably the most logical choice especially since they are in desperate need for a new building.

 

My guess is they strike a deal, at some point in the next 8 months. They do a combination of renovations of that building for courts and offices. They also buy a lot nearby (maybe in Eado or Northside) for the police dispatch, making them happy with a more horizontal campus. Justice complex combing both is adjusted. In 2-3 years they will sell the land as the market is rebounding.

Edited by Avossos
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1 minute ago, Avossos said:

 

My guess is they strike a deal, at some point in the next 8 months. They do a combination of renovations of that building for courts and offices. They also buy a lot nearby (maybe in Eado or Northside) for the police dispatch, making them happy with a more horizontal campus. Justice complex combing both is adjusted.

If they do reach a deal, perhaps those wanting the original design may win. Perhaps the city can get a discount to lease this building if only the internal offices are renovated, with the exterior simply cleaned perhaps. Shorenstein did want to modernize the building though, so who knows... guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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13 minutes ago, Triton said:

If they do reach a deal, perhaps those wanting the original design may win. Perhaps the city can get a discount to lease this building if only the internal offices are renovated, with the exterior simply cleaned perhaps. Shorenstein did want to modernize the building though, so who knows... guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

 

Oh I agree that if Houston does take the space, the exterior will likely remain (hopefully cleaned up a bit). I hope that this does get connected to the tunnels however, whatever happens to the building.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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20 hours ago, Triton said:

Late 60s

 

1024x1024.jpg

Man, I wish all those pre-wars weren't mowed down... What a bummer that empty lots sit there now. Older downtowns function like real cities, not seas of boring disconnected, cold office towers. Anyways, a great shot and a great look into the past!

 

Perhaps this is straying from the topic of the discussion, but does anybody have an estimate of how many were destroyed?

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Many US (inner) cites were abandoned in the 60's and 70's. This certainly wasn't unique to Houston. Its important to note too that renovation is most of the time cheaper than new construction. Obviously I can't predict what would have occurred if the buildings were kept, but In my opinion a few of them would have been renovated by the 90's and early aughts. 

Looking at that building in the foreground in historic aerial photography, thats the corner of La branch and Rusk st . Which today is a surface level parking lot. (Lot 97)

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That is a good point - I guess it's hard to imagine now other cities having lots of abandoned buildings.  

 

I wonder how downtown would have turned out if they hadn't demolished the buildings for Houston Center.  South downtown wasn't part of that, but it might have kept some of those buildings

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A number of those buildings were likely torn down to reduce property taxes, reduce maintenance costs, and to provide the ability to make money from use as a parking lot. For those of you who weren't here in the 70's and especially the 80's during the oil bust, Downtown was dead. No one went there much, except to go to work. There was no real demand for space, so no reason for the buildings to be kept.

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sfw5Mcj.jpg

Also, since were posting old photos of the building, I'll share a project I'm working on right now. I was able to get a skyline shot of Houston from 1966 which I had digitally restored.  I then hired a drone operator to take an equivalent shot for me. 

Edit, seems like I can only display one imgure link try this: http://i.imgur.com/np541Gz.jpg   and http://i.imgur.com/sfw5Mcj.jpg 

Edited by Purdueenginerd
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44 minutes ago, Purdueenginerd said:

sfw5Mcj.jpg

Also, since were posting old photos of the building, I'll share a project I'm working on right now. I was able to get a skyline shot of Houston from 1966 which I had digitally restored.  I then hired a drone operator to take an equivalent shot for me. 

Edit, seems like I can only display one imgure link try this: http://i.imgur.com/np541Gz.jpg   and http://i.imgur.com/sfw5Mcj.jpg 

I tried viewing your first picture in several different browsers but I am not able to view it.

Edited by Triton
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1 hour ago, Purdueenginerd said:

sfw5Mcj.jpg

Also, since were posting old photos of the building, I'll share a project I'm working on right now. I was able to get a skyline shot of Houston from 1966 which I had digitally restored.  I then hired a drone operator to take an equivalent shot for me. 

Edit, seems like I can only display one imgure link try this: http://i.imgur.com/np541Gz.jpg   and http://i.imgur.com/sfw5Mcj.jpg 

 

Not bad at all in 50 years. The obvious next move will be to remove the freeway, so that development takes off in the foreground and the bayou becomes a greenscape corridor between two skylines.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Purdueenginerd said:

sfw5Mcj.jpg

Also, since were posting old photos of the building, I'll share a project I'm working on right now. I was able to get a skyline shot of Houston from 1966 which I had digitally restored.  I then hired a drone operator to take an equivalent shot for me. 

Edit, seems like I can only display one imgure link try this: http://i.imgur.com/np541Gz.jpg   and http://i.imgur.com/sfw5Mcj.jpg 

Apparently, there were no parking garages Downtown in 1966 (OK, there's one for the Humble Building, and presumably a couple of others). There are a lot of cars in the surface lots. Which may explain why so many low rise buildings were torn down.

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5 hours ago, Ross said:

A number of those buildings were likely torn down to reduce property taxes, reduce maintenance costs, and to provide the ability to make money from use as a parking lot. For those of you who weren't here in the 70's and especially the 80's during the oil bust, Downtown was dead. No one went there much, except to go to work. There was no real demand for space, so no reason for the buildings to be kept.

And, in the late 1980s, downtown after dark was fairly dangerous.  Heck, the Urban Animals had to skate around in big packs just to stay safe!

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to 800 Bell St. (Former Exxon Building) Updates

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