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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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Ok, so here are my notes:

 

* The tower size and parking situation maybe suitable, even 'ideal' for police headquarters and municipal courts, aka "Justice Complex".

* 800 Bell still needs light to moderate renovations

* The building will need to accomodate the technology and security the city needs

* Would lease the entire building

* The current city complex will be sold to developers, probably for $$$ (18 acres downtown)

* Could be financially smart for the city

* Would be good for Shorenstein

 

----

 

Would the Justice complex have a negative effect on the area? I would say: No, better to be fully occupied and tightly contained. Also better to have the building be occupied and maintained.

 

Would the building be connected to the tunnel system, now? I don't know...

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Actually, if the City did relocate the Police HQ over that way - then the current building they are in off Dallas Street can be either torn down (no real loss of architecture) and the plan to keep pushing retail along the Dallas Street corridor can continue.

 

There are buildings MUCH older than 800 Bell not only *in* Houston, but around the country and elsewhere in the world that hold more sensitive government functions than a city police hq.  If buildings that are hundreds of years old can be brought into modern times with security/technology features then a 50 year old modern highrise that currently houses the 2nd or 3rd largest company in the world can!

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Actually, if the City did relocate the Police HQ over that way - then the current building they are in off Dallas Street can be either torn down (no real loss of architecture) and the plan to keep pushing retail along the Dallas Street corridor can continue.

 

There are buildings MUCH older than 800 Bell not only *in* Houston, but around the country and elsewhere in the world that hold more sensitive government functions than a city police hq.  If buildings that are hundreds of years old can be brought into modern times with security/technology features then a 50 year old modern highrise that currently houses the 2nd or 3rd largest company in the world can!

 

I believe they said 800 Bell only has 10% more office space than the current justice complex off Houston Ave., so I doubt they can add the police headquarters into the mix. I also imagine the police like having a separate pad from the justice department. Even if the police left, I think it's important for downtown to have older office buildings as it allows for a broader range of tenants and makes downtown a workplace for more people. You cannot get the low rents on a new building that you can on an old.

 

I also don't see the Dallas St. shopping district going west of Main St.; I think before that happens it will go north on Main St. and then double back towards the convention center on McKinney. I see redevelopment in the future for the stretch of McKinney along The Park Shops and that grassy embankment across the street.

 

The other thing we're not talking about is what happens to the 18 acres off Houston Ave. after the city is gone??? :-O

Edited by H-Town Man
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new designs are knocking off mid-century looks and it seems that those who like the knock offs should like 800 bell....this is not the case, unfortunately. what's the disconnect? is it because it isn't a shiny finished new look yet?

800 bell needs some renderings of what a bright shiny new "preservation sensitive" renovation would look like. it might change some opinions.

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Agreed Bach.

Does anyone have a map of the 18 acre judicial complex location? Could be interesting to build a park half the size of discovery green and surround it with brand new high rises..

Edit: oh, is it across 45 from the aquarium? Thought it was actually IN downtown. Maybe they could build a creative addition to Buffalo Bayou park, linked to the bayou under the highway.

Edited by cloud713
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The other thing we're not talking about is what happens to the 18 acres off Houston Ave. after the city is gone??? :-O

 

The thinking by Central Houston, Inc. back in 2004 with their Framework for the Future was to reconstruct 45 further west under this property.

 

http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowntownHouston/Frameworkforthefuture/

 

Great illustrations and maps. Worth perusing.

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Seems like it would include everything in the upper polygon in this image, and maybe the lower polygon as well. This also almost touches a corner of the post office site across the freeway, so massive redevelopment opportunities for this part of downtown.

 

attachicon.gifjustice complex.PNG

do you see what i see? if you dont mind walking under an overpass, the Justice Complex has pretty decent bayou frontage. there is definitely potential to link that 18 acres into BBP and build new amenities and what not on the site. this could be a decent place for the Houston Needs A Swimming Hole. about as close to downtown as you could possibly get, without actually being IN downtown.

Screen%20shot%202015-01-31%20at%204.17.2

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i hope not.. sitting vacant for years? 

aside from the Post Office site being IN downtown, and the Hardy Yards being on the light rail line, this site actually has decent bayou connectivity, making me think its better than for just more Residences at Hardy Yards type projects.

i think the Houston Needs A Swimming Hole guys said they would like the pool to be 3-4 acres, with another 3-4 acres for amenities. that would leave over half of the Judicial site left over for development or more Buffalo Bayou Park amenities.

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Tough love cloud, no way they are going to plant something as silly as a water hole on prime property this large when they can keep it vacant for 23 years then build a strip center or a Valero or a fabulous Houston wrap.

When you have property this large and close to downtown, the appropriate thing to do is to allow a boom to die down then parcel the plot down into smaller lots then build low density buildings such as strip centers. Townhouses are an excellent option too

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Lmfao. Oh how I love thee, HIH.

I get it H Man, some silly swimming hole isn't the most profitable use of land, but I belive this is a different circumstance. The city owns this property, no? They might be inclined to see more Buffalo Bayou Park improvements and additional amenities for the new residents across the bayou in downtown. the site would already be linked to downtown by the sequenccintennial(?) bridge..

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Interesting... Though I'd much rather see the theater district continue expanding inside downtown and continue the cohesive feel of the district. They should look into taking over the Chronicle garage(?), possibly Chron buildings (not sure what block they're on), and land next to the Ballet Center (if they werent the ones to buy it back from Novare) to build any new theater additions on. Maybe the aquarium could get a piece of the judicial pie to make it bigger and more legit?

they could even dig a trench from the bayou under the overpasses, and dig out a little lake on the other side of 45 as a sort of "marina" for docking the boats that currently roam the bayou (and likely spur more boating on the bayou). and then build the swimming hole beyond that. somewhere in there obviously have a big beachy area on the side of one of the new bodies of water for hanging out, tanning, beach volley ball, and what not.

Edited by cloud713
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Tough love cloud, no way they are going to plant something as silly as a water hole on prime property this large when they can keep it vacant for 23 years then build a strip center or a Valero or a fabulous Houston wrap.

When you have property this large and close to downtown, the appropriate thing to do is to allow a boom to die down then parcel the plot down into smaller lots then build low density buildings such as strip centers. Townhouses are an excellent option too

 

Do you really think we'll see strip centers and townhouses on this site, or are you having sort of a "this is Houston" pessimistic moment?  Whoever buys that land is going to get the most value out of it that they can. Considering that the land across I-45 from Allen Center has filled up with mid-rises, it's hard not to see something like that happening here, only this is an even better location than that, with the most famous views of downtown and a short walk to the bayou and theater district.

 

I think they will hold and see how the current crop of residential highrises in northern downtown pans out. They may also wait and gauge what the buyer of the post office site does (unless the same entity buys both). Then we will most likely get a three phase plan with midrises and highrises depending on demand, and probably an internal street of ground floor retail, with some retail along Houston Avenue to pull people in. Victory in Dallas might offer a preview of what goes here, although I would expect a more historical/brick look to match the historic district and BoA.

 

 

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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Do you really think we'll see strip centers and townhouses on this site, or are you having sort of a "this is Houston" pessimistic moment?

the second one.

As for the suggestions, I agree with cloud that I would rather the theater district cluster on itself and expand downtown.

As for the swimming hole, I think the east side would be a better option in terms of setting. In my opinion sites like Gus Wortham are a more picturesque settings (unless they incorporate more bayou renovations like he mentioned?).

I was being sarcastic in my earlier post, but I have little hopes for this area.

My ideal situation would lean towards more entertainment/touristy options over residential. I would rather an expansion to a real aquarium over a hirise development. But judging by the lack of real interesting projects for quality sites such as the post office, KBR or hardy, I doubt we will see anything other than underwhelming projects

Edited by HoustonIsHome
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"They were planning on completely redoing the building, taking the fins off," Griffin said, referring to the seven-foot-deep sunshades coming out of the building. "Here, we won't do that."

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/02/joint-venture-pursues-city-of-houston-to-redevelop.html

 

So if the city moves in they won't redevelop the outside facade to the proposal.

 

 

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Prediction: GFR in Skyhouse...will be Bail Bond Company. Unfortunately, a lot of store fronts will be. Maybe it's not such a great idea.

I doubt it. Wouldn't Bail Bonds Companies want to be closer to the Criminal Justice Center, County Jail, and Sober Center?

I can see more smaller law offices for simple traffic tickets flooding the area near 800 Bell if Municipal Courts do relocate here.

The biggest positive though is Chevron can't use 800 Bell then.

Edited by tigereye
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Sounding better and better, to me, all the time.  If this goes through, I will miss watching the reconstruction from the Y. 

 

Prediction: GFR in Skyhouse...will be Bail Bond Company.  Unfortunately, a lot of store fronts will be.  Maybe it's not such a great idea. 

 

they got to go somewhere... They will be forced to be a little cleaner around the edges. and bail bond places aren't as bad as they seem. people go there to clean up / straighten up... not the other way.

 

EDIT: The bail bonds will likely follow the city jail thats moving to the county jail site. I agree that small ticket offices and some legal places will be needed to support operations at 800 bell. I doubt they will hinder the area.

Edited by Avossos
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Griffin said he expects that the city would sign a 20- or 30-year lease.

 

 

Just adding to what I said above... a 20-30 year lease with an AA tenant at $30/sf could sell at a 6 cap. Once the lease is done, Shorenstein could sell this building for $600 million, which would be a record for a Houston office building. If it's a gross lease with landlord paying expenses, that could knock it down to around $500 million, still tying the record.

 

Someone correct me if I'm missing something. Just unbelievable.

Edited by H-Town Man
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Just adding to what I said above... a 20-30 year lease with an AA tenant at $30/sf could sell at a 6 cap. Once the lease is done, Shorenstein could sell this building for $600 million, which would be a record for a Houston office building. If it's a gross lease with landlord paying expenses, that could knock it down to around $500 million, still tying the record.

Someone correct me if I'm missing something. Just unbelievable.

But would landlord not need to put a bunch of money into property to "modernize" it for a law enforcement use?

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Separately, if the city does lease it, I think that the old petroleum club is gonna make one heck of a happy hour joint for cops and judges to hang out!

 

They could use it as large court rooms considering the size of it.

 

Would it be better to put the courts toward the lower floors and offices above?

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But would landlord not need to put a bunch of money into property to "modernize" it for a law enforcement use?

 

Right, I discussed on the first post further up. $50 million to purchase the building plus maybe $20 million in renovation (wild guess) would mean about $70 million investment, paid off 7-8 times over.

 

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http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/02/joint-venture-pursues-city-of-houston-to-redevelop.html

 

So if the city moves in they won't redevelop the outside facade to the proposal.

 

If this happens, I'll be happy that this will take 1+ million sq. ft. of floor space out of the market, but not happy that the ugly facade will remain.  Anyways, I hope that they include in the improvements (because I'm sure there's things that still need fixing and upgrading) the connection to the tunnel system.  Could that raise the rent if they pursue that?  

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If the city couldn't be troubled to put the Houston Natural Gas HPD building onto the tunnels, which is all the way across the street from the closest access, I don't see them bothering to do so at 800 Bell.  If anything, their perceived security needs would mitigate against it.

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Just adding to what I said above... a 20-30 year lease with an AA tenant at $30/sf could sell at a 6 cap. Once the lease is done, Shorenstein could sell this building for $600 million, which would be a record for a Houston office building. If it's a gross lease with landlord paying expenses, that could knock it down to around $500 million, still tying the record.

Someone correct me if I'm missing something. Just unbelievable.

You are missing something. First of all, capping $30M at 6% gives $500M, not $600M.

But more importantly, you should be capping net operating income, not gross income. To those $30M you need to deduct debt service, real estate taxes, maintenance, and expenses ( which will vary greatly depending on the type of lease)

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You are missing something. First of all, capping $30M at 6% gives $500M, not $600M.

But more importantly, you should be capping net operating income, not gross income. To those $30M you need to deduct debt service, real estate taxes, maintenance, and expenses ( which will vary greatly depending on the type of lease)

 

I am not capping $30 million. I am capping $30/sf (see post above) by 1.2 million square feet (the size of the building), which gives $600 million.

 

As to NOI, did you read the third sentence of my post, where I addressed the gross vs. net rent issue?

 

 

Edited by H-Town Man
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My mistake, I thought there was 1M square feet.

I did read the part about expenses on your post, but that ddoes not cover debt service (huge cost), RE taxes or maintenance.

 

I said "landlord paying expenses," not specifying which. I estimated about $5/SF, which I intended roughly to cover RE taxes, maintenance, and insurance.

 

I do not believe debt service is an expense that affects NOI, but rather is deducted after NOI, affecting pre-tax cash flow.

 

 

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Lol. Why do people want to see this building redesigned so badly? It's a classic. Just needs a nice shine.

I agree. I kinda like it like it is. I do have a question though.....

Do the sunscreens actually work? Do they actually make the building less dependent on air conditioning because the shades actually blunt the sun's rays?

If so, this was a "green" building before its time! One City Center seems to be of similar concept.

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Lol. Why do people want to see this building redesigned so badly? It's a classic. Just needs a nice shine.

I dunno. We Need More Stand Out Buildings NOT More Blend IN buildings. Leeland didn't stand out. It was a bland building with a hideous facade. Exxon has a dirty facade but it stands out. Makes our skyline more interesting. Something extra to look at. Having all glass boxes is boring. If anything we should make the fins stand out more. Don't ruin it by covering it up with glass.

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I agree. I kinda like it like it is. I do have a question though.....

Do the sunscreens actually work? Do they actually make the building less dependent on air conditioning because the shades actually blunt the sun's rays?

If so, this was a "green" building before its time! One City Center seems to be of similar concept.

 

I can't imagine how they could not work.

 

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  • The title was changed to Exxon Building Downtown

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