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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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3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Even if the existing facade stayed as is, the building is in desperate need of a good scrubbing. I drive by it every single day.

 

They redid almost all of the stone cladding not that long ago, maybe 10 years. It shouldn't be too dirty yet.

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  • 2 months later...

It been a while since I have heard anything on 800 Bell. There was a company planning to renovate it last I heard. Then there were the talks of turning it into a court complex. I thought was a innovative way reuse the tower. Figure you dont need all the floors for the court complex so the rest could be rented out law firms and such.

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1 hour ago, BigBlueContractor said:

The study was done, high rise court facilities do not work. Major problems with conveyance of people, i.e. inmates and jury members. Also parking becomes a headache, people end up being late, etc... 

 

That is too bad. Would love to see this building remain in it's current form.

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3 hours ago, BigBlueContractor said:

The study was done, high rise court facilities do not work. Major problems with conveyance of people, i.e. inmates and jury members. Also parking becomes a headache, people end up being late, etc... 

Someone needs to tell Harris County that, since both of the main courthouses are high rise buildings.

 

800 Bell's elevators are first class, fast, and there are a lot of them. 3 banks if I remember correctly from meetings I attended there.

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They learned their lesson! Especially with the Jury Issue. They had to build a separate building just to house the jurors before they could go in. 

 

But you have to remember that was all master planned and their are tunnels that go from jails to criminal courthouse - it allows for seperation. 800 Bell would not allow that. They were also talking about 800 Bell housing the police HQ at 600 Travis. The original deal that was in place was a really complex delivery. 

 

The bottom line is that the COH needs new "social infrastructure", but they do not have enough money to pay for it. They would have to go to the voters asking to get 500+ to rebuild their jails, courthouses, and police center into a "campus". It is spread out right now, where Harris County is bundled together nicely. 

 

Not sure what the voters appetite would be on a large bond program for those types of facilities?

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19 minutes ago, BigBlueContractor said:

They learned their lesson! Especially with the Jury Issue. They had to build a separate building just to house the jurors before they could go in. 

 

But you have to remember that was all master planned and their are tunnels that go from jails to criminal courthouse - it allows for seperation. 800 Bell would not allow that. They were also talking about 800 Bell housing the police HQ at 600 Travis. The original deal that was in place was a really complex delivery. 

 

The bottom line is that the COH needs new "social infrastructure", but they do not have enough money to pay for it. They would have to go to the voters asking to get 500+ to rebuild their jails, courthouses, and police center into a "campus". It is spread out right now, where Harris County is bundled together nicely. 

 

Not sure what the voters appetite would be on a large bond program for those types of facilities?

 

Why would they need to separate the jurors any more than they currently do?

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

Why would they need to separate the jurors any more than they currently do?

What's all this talk of separating anyhow? I thought the jury building for the county was more of an organizational convenience than a need to isolate the populace from the law.

 

I served for nearly 2 months on a trial at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse a few years back, and on many occasions walked in thru the metal detectors right behind or in front of the guys that were on trial or lawyers from either side. We jurors exercised good practice (as did they) and didn't ride in the same elevator up with them--we would just wait for the next one.  

 

Edited by Sparrow
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27 minutes ago, Sparrow said:

What's all this talk of separating anyhow? I thought the jury building for the county was more of an organizational convenience than a need to isolate the populace from the law.

 

I served for nearly 2 months on a trial at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse a few years back, and on many occasions walked in thru the metal detectors right behind or in front of the guys that were on trial or lawyers from either side. We jurors exercised good practice (as did they) and didn't ride in the same elevator up with them--we would just wait for the next one.  

 

Correct... It was more of preventing from you waiting outside in the rain when they have a pool they are picking from. Let's say it is more of convenience and knowing that your tax dollars are being well spent. 

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On 1/2/2017 at 6:09 PM, Ross said:

They redid almost all of the stone cladding not that long ago, maybe 10 years. It shouldn't be too dirty yet.

 

Let's hope your mother isn't reading this... :ph34r:

 

On 3/8/2017 at 7:24 PM, Ross said:

Someone needs to tell Harris County that, since both of the main courthouses are high rise buildings.

 

The public elevators in the criminal courthouse are incredibly inadequate.  Those in the civil courthouse just have pretty long waits at peak times - far longer than what you experience in a typical commercial building.

 

9 hours ago, BigBlueContractor said:

They learned their lesson! Especially with the Jury Issue. They had to build a separate building just to house the jurors before they could go in. 

 

The current centrally located underground jury assembly facility is at least the second one. There was an earlier version in Congress Plaza, on Congress between Fannin and Main, built in the very early 80s.  Before that goes a bit before my time.

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I don't understand the comment of the jury needing a sperate area. If you go down to Galveston the court complex they built has the jury selection court room in the same building with the trial courts. It all one big complex.  I just got called for duty last week. I went into the jury court room which was on the first floor right down hall from one to the trial ones.

Edited by cougarpad
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  • 2 years later...

It's on Tellepsen's site https://commercial.tellepsen.com/project/shorenstein-realty-800-bell-redevelopment/

 

From the City permit site:

Project No: 19070440
Date : 2019/07/09 00:00:00
USE : (EPR) 25,592 SQ FT HI-RISE OFFICE REMODE
Owner/Occupant : *800 BELL MARKETING FLOOR
Job Address : 800 BELL ST FL 35 77002
Valuation : $ 994,000
Permit Type : 13
FCC Group : Non-Residential Alteration
Buyer : *TELLEPSEN
Address : 777 BENMAR 77060
Phone : (281) 272-4929

 

35th floor remodel for a marketing office?

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37 minutes ago, Ross said:

It's on Tellepsen's site https://commercial.tellepsen.com/project/shorenstein-realty-800-bell-redevelopment/

 

From the City permit site:

Project No: 19070440
Date : 2019/07/09 00:00:00
USE : (EPR) 25,592 SQ FT HI-RISE OFFICE REMODE
Owner/Occupant : *800 BELL MARKETING FLOOR
Job Address : 800 BELL ST FL 35 77002
Valuation : $ 994,000
Permit Type : 13
FCC Group : Non-Residential Alteration
Buyer : *TELLEPSEN
Address : 777 BENMAR 77060
Phone : (281) 272-4929

 

35th floor remodel for a marketing office?

 

I guess it's to show tenants what a finished office will look like with views and all. They must smell some prey to be doing this now. I really hope they don't knock away one of the solar fins since I'm still hoping this thing falls through and the existing appearance of the building is saved.

 

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35 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I guess it's to show tenants what a finished office will look like with views and all. They must smell some prey to be doing this now. I really hope they don't knock away one of the solar fins since I'm still hoping this thing falls through and the existing appearance of the building is saved.

 

 

Very true. The building is a real modernist gem, but its even more so because its modernism with a contextual edge. Took some nice photos of the fins. I'll have to post them later.

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

Are there any updates on this building being renovated? It is a historic building and it is sitting empty. I hope it does not become the next vacant Holiday Inn that is near by. I know there was some ideas of revamping the first floor by digging down and making a lower entrance as well as making a tunnel connection. The City of Houston was floating around the idea of taking it over for their city courts which I thought was a clever idea, but also would of meant major redoing of the ground floors for a jury entrance. Something needs to be done with this iconic building and new tenants being brought in.

Edited by cougarpad
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Nothing about actual renovations, but the article below featured a cool concept to repurpose the building. I’m not sure what kind of top tier tenant would want to go to this kind of building for office space, when a brand new Class AA tower could be built in a similar timeframe. Repurposing this as a type of residential housing might be better in the longrun, although I suspect one would need a heckuva tax incentive program to kickstart that change in thinking.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/projects/2021/future-houston-designs

EQQLgBa.jpg

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here is the problem with 800 bell:  no one wants an old 1.3 million SF building with low FF heights and extremely old infrastructure.

The "sell" from Shorenstein is that you could deliver a "reno" of this building to market faster than a new tower but there are not a whole lot of anchor tenants looking for the kind of SF they would need to kick this into gear.  Even with top tier renovations this will never be able to compete with new construction Hines or Skanska buildings.... 

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16 minutes ago, tangledwoods said:

here is the problem with 800 bell:  no one wants an old 1.3 million SF building with low FF heights and extremely old infrastructure.

The "sell" from Shorenstein is that you could deliver a "reno" of this building to market faster than a new tower but there are not a whole lot of anchor tenants looking for the kind of SF they would need to kick this into gear.  Even with top tier renovations this will never be able to compete with new construction Hines or Skanska buildings.... 

I'd be really happy if they converted to apartments/condos and maybe mixed-use with a Hotel. The top of the building, ex-petroleum club is dying to be used as a fabulous resort pool. Could definitely open the roof. Think of the views and cocktails.

I doubt it would ever come true. I think the best hope for this building was the city buying it. 

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Shouldn’t the cost of holding a building vacant spur SOME kind of action by the owner?  Either sell or renovate/repurpose?  Seems crazy to pay taxes and maintenance costs on an asset that generates no income.  With the glut of vacant office space in the city, flipping to residential seems logical.

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Quote

flipping to residential seems logical.

the FF heights dont work, you would have to blow out portions of every other floor (which would make for some dope loft style units) but not sure what the market would be for that.  Also the core depth of this building makes it inefficient for residential or hotel conversion.

FWIW the comments above are largely from a bar conversation with a developer that doesnt like Shorenstein  so take all of that for what it is......

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3 hours ago, tangledwoods said:

the FF heights dont work, you would have to blow out portions of every other floor (which would make for some dope loft style units) but not sure what the market would be for that.  Also the core depth of this building makes it inefficient for residential or hotel conversion.

It would take a creative design to repurpose 800 Bell for residential. I’ve fantasized about stripping some floors out to create something like sky pocket parks within the building for tenants. 
 

Of course, the economics make that impractical. 

 

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12 hours ago, tangledwoods said:

here is the problem with 800 bell:  no one wants an old 1.3 million SF building with low FF heights and extremely old infrastructure.

The "sell" from Shorenstein is that you could deliver a "reno" of this building to market faster than a new tower but there are not a whole lot of anchor tenants looking for the kind of SF they would need to kick this into gear.  Even with top tier renovations this will never be able to compete with new construction Hines or Skanska buildings.... 

What does FF stand for?

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This building is an example of what is going to happen to a lot of buildings around town that are aging. The owners will have to find ways to adapt or there will just be old empty buildings from the 70s/80s that no one wants to rent.

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1 hour ago, thatguysly said:

This building is an example of what is going to happen to a lot of buildings around town that are aging. The owners will have to find ways to adapt or there will just be old empty buildings from the 70s/80s that no one wants to rent.

This has been going on for a while now, nothing new. 

15 hours ago, tangledwoods said:

the FF heights dont work, you would have to blow out portions of every other floor (which would make for some dope loft style units) but not sure what the market would be for that.  Also the core depth of this building makes it inefficient for residential or hotel conversion.

FWIW the comments above are largely from a bar conversation with a developer that doesnt like Shorenstein  so take all of that for what it is......

If the floor height doesn't work for residential, how would it work for office? I'm sure whatever renos Shorenstein had in mind, like totally changing the façade, could be put to better use $ on the interior. 

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4 hours ago, Subdude said:

What does FF stand for?

Floor-to-Floor

or sometimes finish floor when used on a drawing. 

I’d imagine the floor heights would be challenging, but nothing is impossible.  It is the location that stinks.

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1 hour ago, arche_757 said:

Floor-to-Floor

or sometimes finish floor when used on a drawing. 

I’d imagine the floor heights would be challenging, but nothing is impossible.  It is the location that stinks.

It's a 4 block walk to Green Street, 1 block from the YMCA, 1 block from Main/2 blocks from both Skyhouse Retails, 3 blocks from the restaurants in the Hyatt Garage, 2 blocks from Chevron/Ex-Enron/Allen Center complex, 5 blocks from the law School. Granted, it is surrounded by a small sea of surface lots. But, that is a sea of potential.

Hamilton's location stinks, but people still rent there.

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1 hour ago, Montrose1100 said:

It's a 4 block walk to Green Street, 1 block from the YMCA, 1 block from Main/2 blocks from both Skyhouse Retails, 3 blocks from the restaurants in the Hyatt Garage, 2 blocks from Chevron/Ex-Enron/Allen Center complex, 5 blocks from the law School. Granted, it is surrounded by a small sea of surface lots. But, that is a sea of potential.

Hamilton's location stinks, but people still rent there.

I can imagine whatever rents they charge at Hamilton it would be lower than what it would take to do a proper renovation to this former corporate tower.  So, there is that.

Would be a good buy for Rice/Ion etc. could turn it into a vertical emerging tech incubator of some sort.  Perhaps that’s a stretch, but I’d be happy to work on that for any would-be developer!

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22 hours ago, tangledwoods said:

the FF heights dont work, you would have to blow out portions of every other floor (which would make for some dope loft style units) but not sure what the market would be for that.  Also the core depth of this building makes it inefficient for residential or hotel conversion.

 

The successful rehabs of the old Conrad Hilton and First National Bank Towers in downtown Dallas suggest otherwise.

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On 6/21/2021 at 4:28 PM, tangledwoods said:

here is the problem with 800 bell:  no one wants an old 1.3 million SF building with low FF heights and extremely old infrastructure.

The "sell" from Shorenstein is that you could deliver a "reno" of this building to market faster than a new tower but there are not a whole lot of anchor tenants looking for the kind of SF they would need to kick this into gear.  Even with top tier renovations this will never be able to compete with new construction Hines or Skanska buildings.... 

It's interesting. Low ceiling heights have also been given as an explanation for why the old Holiday/Days Inn could not be renovated, and the Sheraton-Lincoln before that. It must be that people in the 1960s were tiny, compared to the giants that walk among us today. 

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I don't understand why the floor-to-floor heights won't work for residential.  Usually commercial has the greatest heights, then residential in the middle, and then hotels at the bottom.  Unless it's a very old commercial building with low ceilings that only work well for hotels (like the Carter Building that became the JW Marriott), a residential conversion of a moderately-old commercial building usually has perfect ceiling heights.

I believe 800 Bell has approximately 13 foot FF spacing, which would be low by today's commercial standards (the towers built in recent years are all over 14 feet and some of the newest with in-floor HVAC are closer to 15 feet), but is plenty for residential.  Remember the office buildings that were used for recent hotel conversions have spacings under 9 feet.  The spacing of 800 Bell is actually enough for premium residential with "high" (by residential standards) ceilings, with 10 foot floor-to-ceiling heights if you want to match the ceiling height with the window height for floor-to-ceiling glass, and you could probably get a bit higher if you want more of a "loft" aesthetic.

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14 minutes ago, tigereye said:

Anyone know what’s up with the Municipal Courts (Lubbock)? I thought there was a plan for the city to relocate municipal to 800 Bell and sell the land on Lubbock? 

I think it is still up in the air right now...

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15 minutes ago, tigereye said:

Anyone know what’s up with the Municipal Courts (Lubbock)? I thought there was a plan for the city to relocate municipal to 800 Bell and sell the land on Lubbock? 

Not really a "plan".  It was little more than an idea that was floated and pretty quickly dropped for cost and other reasons.  It seems the Municipal Courts/police project got put on a very back burner after the City got hit by Harvey and then COVID.  

Edited by Houston19514
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So basically with all the comments in the above thread would it be more cost effective to just implode the building and start from scratch to build something more to spec of what a client wants? I so wish that the City of Houston would just order that the Holiday Inn building is not up to code enough for purchase and remodel and have the thing imploded. This is city government and when they want something done they usually can find loops holes and ways to get it done. At least get one of the empty buildings that is an eyesore out of the way. As far as the old Exon building, there are options it just needs someone to take action.

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It costs millions to demo so it'll just sit there until someone figures they can recoup the costs with a new development on top of the demo costs. They already complain the margins are thin. It is the same reason the City voted to demo the Astrodome and then the City and County looked at the costs and nothing happened.

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1 hour ago, thatguysly said:

It costs millions to demo so it'll just sit there until someone figures they can recoup the costs with a new development on top of the demo costs. They already complain the margins are thin. It is the same reason the City voted to demo the Astrodome and then the City and County looked at the costs and nothing happened.

FWIW, nobody, least of all the City, has ever voted to demo the Astrodome.

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25 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Again, there has never been a vote by any body or group to demo the Astrodome.  Has. Not. Happened.

Fine. Voted against renovating it. The point remains that demo costs are too high to get rid of worthless structures unless the developer is willing to pay a premium. 

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

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