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Bank Of America Tower: Office Building For Downtown


barracuda

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Nice catch, Urbannizer.  For selfish reasons, I'm really looking forward to having that part of the tunnel system back open and improved.  With any amount of luck, it will support some food options that are a notch or two above the usual Tunnel Trash - something more along the lines of Perbacco at the street level of Pennzoil, perhaps.  After all, Post Oak Grill manages to stay alive among the Mole People (at least at the Reliant location - Commerce Tower's food court remains strangely unnoticed), and Tunnel Sushi made a good go of it in the old Houston Club tunnel to Pennzoil (granted, when spoken the concept sounded like Truck Stop Sushi, but it was actually pretty decent).

Edited by mollusk
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The steps/benches on the stairs down to the tunnel look really neat, but I can't help but have a nagging suspicion that there will be a "this is why we can't have nice things" moment involving an inattentive walker/texter and his attorney.

 

Maybe a moat water feature at the top would be an attractive way to prevent that particular accident.

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Can someone remind me about the parking garage? Is it staying? Thank you in advance and yes I don't want to click through 15 pages.

 

It all makes very little sense, but here goes my explanation of the garage situation as near as I can figure out from what has been discussed to date here.

 

Among the users of the old Houston Club garage was a group (maybe Chase) that did not hold a conventional parking contract, but rather an easement on the property itself on which to park cars. For reasons I can not fathom, they would not or could not sell that easement, so Skanska converts a part of the old office space in to a garage complete with new ramps to house the cars on the property. They then gut the remainder of the building and completely remove a slice out of the middle such that they can implode the remaining structure without harming the newly converted garage portion. Once the rubble is cleared, construction on the new tower will begin with a new parking garage on the Rusk side of the block. After the completely new garage is operational, the temporary garage will be demolished to make room for the office tower as seen in the renderings which will be constructed around the new garage.

 

This may all be based on incorrect speculation or bad information, but it is the most plausible scenario that would account for the whackadoo plan that has unfolded for the demolition and reconstruction approach to this project. I welcome any correction or clarification that anyone might provide, it is all quite odd. The additional cost to convert the building and then accommodate getting a new garage constructed and operational first in the middle of your 30 something story tower construction project would have to be at least several million dollars. Why anyone would not suspend an easement and go buy parking somewhere else in the vicinity for a couple of years for that amount of money is something I have not figured out and makes me suspicious that all of what I wrote above is surely dead wrong.

Edited by Nate99
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I have the same understanding, though I'm not entirely sure that the carefully preserved ownership interest in parking rights is necessarily an easement or perhaps some other critter (a distinction that I grant is likely of interest only to me, houstontexasjack, and maybe one or two others with strange obsessions for precise nomenclature and/or law licenses).  :mellow:

 

I wonder if the parking right (whatever precise vehicle it may be) has some sort of reverter interest associated with it, where if the parking isn't used the interest re-merges with the remainder or maybe goes back to the original grantor - much like what is the case with some of the park donations over the years. 

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I have the same understanding, though I'm not entirely sure that the carefully preserved ownership interest in parking rights is necessarily an easement or perhaps some other critter (a distinction that I grant is likely of interest only to me, houstontexasjack, and maybe one or two others with strange obsessions for precise nomenclature and/or law licenses).  :mellow:

 

I wonder if the parking right (whatever precise vehicle it may be) has some sort of reverter interest associated with it, where if the parking isn't used the interest re-merges with the remainder or maybe goes back to the original grantor - much like what is the case with some of the park donations over the years. 

 

Whatever it may be termed, it certainly has more teeth in it than I would have expected. It would be interesting to hear the whole story.

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Whatever it may be termed, it certainly has more teeth in it than I would have expected. It would be interesting to hear the whole story.

 

Jesse Jones was no dummy.  Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't some sort of evil genius clause that requires his giant portrait to remain in what is now Chase's banking lobby in 712 Main.

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I do know Skanska is required to provide Chase with 150+ parking spaces on that site. The 6 story building was always a garage, the ramps feeding that building were in the 12 & 18 story side. That was the reason for the ramps being installed on the Milam side. I am amazed that Skanska was unable to buy Chase out of the arrangement. They spent millions converting the 6 story to be a stand alone building. Not just installing the ramps, but the $ to redo all the MEP systems that were needed to be re-routed was not cheap. It also had to escalate the cost to demolish the other buildings with the garage so close. I'm guessing they had to know all this going in to the deal.

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Jesse Jones was no dummy.  Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't some sort of evil genius clause that requires his giant portrait to remain in what is now Chase's banking lobby in 712 Main.

 

I think that's the badass portrait clause. Do you know who the other portrait is of, btw? My guess was Ben Love.

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It is Ben Love.  He has not only the supersized portrait, but a life sized bronze statue of him in a WWII flight suit lurking around somewhere.  It was displayed in the Chase Tower sky lobby for a thankfully brief period before being taken off to gaze purposefully over its permanent location.

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It is Ben Love.  He has not only the supersized portrait, but a life sized bronze statue of him in a WWII flight suit lurking around somewhere.  It was displayed in the Chase Tower sky lobby for a thankfully brief period before being taken off to gaze purposefully over its permanent location.

 

Interesting. When I was a courier about ten years ago I once had a delivery to his office. I was bringing some fancy Houston social directory, a black binder with gold lettering iirc. Anyway the office was on the 18th floor of the Chase tower (18F?), and when I finished the delivery, I asked them if I could use the phone. This was typical for me in those days because I didn't have a cell phone and the company hadn't given me a radio yet, so every time I made a delivery I had to ask to use the phone to report in. Annoyed a lot of people. Anyway, they let me go in this side room where there were all these framed photos and news articles on the wall, Houston Chronicle/Post headlines and what not. It was pretty cool.

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The blue fabric that was covering the south (Rusk) side of the building is all gone now.  I don't know if it blew down or they took it up, but it was sailing like a curtain in the breeze yesterday at lunch time as the squall line was about to blow through downtown.  There was also so much particulate being blown out of there that it looked like smoke.  

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The blue fabric that was covering the south (Rusk) side of the building is all gone now.  I don't know if it blew down or they took it up, but it was sailing like a curtain in the breeze yesterday at lunch time as the squall line was about to blow through downtown.  There was also so much particulate being blown out of there that it looked like smoke.  

Blue Fabric is still up on the Pennzoil Place side.

View from street level.

post-709-14127075948607_thumb.jpg

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Here's hoping that construction of Capitol Tower gets going after demolition.

 

Why all the skeptisim around this building? All signs point to this going up. Seems like there are quite a few on this board who seem to think this is not a done deal.

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Why all the skeptisim around this building? All signs point to this going up. Seems like there are quite a few on this board who seem to think this is not a done deal.

it might have something to do with them investing millions to keep a parking garage operational during/after the demo. i realize they had some sort of parking contract with Chase or whoever, but you would think they could of found a way out of that without having to retrofit a new garage (on the exact plot where the tower is supposed to go... maybe if the garage was going on the other side of the tower, so the tower could be built while this reconfigured garage stayed in place, but i dont understand the point of spending money for the parking structure when they will just tear that down to build the tower. something tells me this will just be parking for a little while (hopefully not too long)... but thats me?

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maybe if the garage was going on the other side of the tower, so the tower could be built while this reconfigured garage stayed in place, but i dont understand the point of spending money for the parking structure when they will just tear that down to build the tower. something tells me this will just be parking for a little while (hopefully not too long)... but thats me?

 

None of this scheme makes sense in a conventional arrangement. But I still think that the millions that they have spent to do what they have done already are just part of the price they pay to get the project to move forward, and they would not have invested as much as they already have if things were still tentative.

 

It is interesting how Skanska will jump through all of these hoops to make this project work while there are two completely empty blocks within a three block radius. I suspect the owners of those lots see them as a gold mines with easy parking revenue in the meantime, whereas the HC building's former owners had what was becoming a tenant repellent maintenance nightmare.

 

I do wonder if they would have preferred the Chronicle building block if they had it to do over again.

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When the Houston Club building was placed on the market it was being marketed for its current parking capacity / revenue only.  The building itself was considered a massive encumbrance and brought down the sale price considerably.  This was an incredibly complex real estate deal and an even more complex construction deal.  

 

Part of the reason that Skanska made a go a this one when other's didn't was that they have a good handle on the construction cost.  Remember that Skanska is primarily a construction company, so they have the resources to really study all the different options for demo and build back.

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Haven't heard any good place to meet up yet. Triton or Nate know downtown best so what are some good places?

 

Not sure I can help much on this one. They are closing off a pretty wide perimeter and all of the obvious sight lines are obscured. You may be able to look down Rusk from Tranquility Park or down Milam from the Market Square area. The Chase tower is set back the most on the Milam side, so if they let you stand in the street, that would proabably result in the best angle, but the part that they aren’t blowing up will obscure part of the action from that side.  Looks like Milam @ Prairie would be as close as you could get. Maybe the Chronicle garage would be sneak-in-able.

 

Edited by Nate99
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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Bank Of America Tower: Office Building For Downtown

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