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Capitol Tower by Skanska, formerly Houston Club Building

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Chain link fencing up on the Travis Street side.  I guess it's pretty clear what you're doing when you write it on the wall. . .

 

post-84-0-62826600-1389378660_thumb.jpg

Edited by flatline
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Three words continually pass through my mind as I look at the 1930's beige brick, the punched windows, the stone trim: "Which one's next?"  :mellow: 

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The corner of Milam and Capitol had been a staging point for interior pieces that they were hauling out with Bobcats and wheelbarrows. Just shot this today where they have a big excavator making a big hole right there. It may have been just digging up the foundation of the walls that were in that little courtyard.

 

2u5xl4g.jpg

 

 

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I can't help but wonder how much longer the tunnel connections through there will remain open.  When they close it off, Chase, 600/601 Travis, and 711 Texas are going to be cut off from all weather access to the rest of downtown.  What was once Skyline Deli's seating area is now walled off with unfinished drywall and a "construction - do not enter" type sign on the unfinished luan door.  OTOH, the parking garage is still in operation.

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Will there be a connection for those through 609 main? (Not that that will be open for a few years) I guess there isn't a tunnel branching off east of Chase towards 609 currently..

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I can't help but wonder how much longer the tunnel connections through there will remain open.  When they close it off, Chase, 600/601 Travis, and 711 Texas are going to be cut off from all weather access to the rest of downtown.  What was once Skyline Deli's seating area is now walled off with unfinished drywall and a "construction - do not enter" type sign on the unfinished luan door.  OTOH, the parking garage is still in operation.

 

I've wondered how they would manage the tunnels under the HC building. I noticed today that the demo contractors have moved in to the office that used to be the parking company in the tunnel between HC and the old Chase building across Travis. 

 

For 609 Main, they would need to tunnel under the light rail, and I don't know if that has yet been done, The one to BG Place maybe? 

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The tunnel to BG Place was dug after the light rail was there, and Uncle Gerry ain't gonna build nuttin' downtown without tunnel access.  My guess is that it will go via 601 Travis (f/k/a Chase Center).

 

(Digression - Heritage Plaza's only all weather access is via a gerbil tube built many years later because [as was related to me then] neither Hines nor Century were willing to grant the new kids access rights in a market that was at that time quickly circling the drain - hence that building being see thru for a long, long time)  

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(Digression - Heritage Plaza's only all weather access is via a gerbil tube built many years later because [as was related to me then] neither Hines nor Century were willing to grant the new kids access rights in a market that was at that time quickly circling the drain - hence that building being see thru for a long, long time)  

 

That's kinda sorta correct, except that I don't know what Century would have had to do with it (the adjoining and eventually-connected Allen Center was developed by MetLife.  MedLife sold it to TrizecHahn. TrizecHahn sold it to Brookfield.

 

Also, the building stopped being see-through long before it gained its skywalk.  The years of see-throughdom had a lot more to do with the oil bust occurring just before the building was completed than its lack of connection to the tunnels.

 

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The corner of Milam and Capitol had been a staging point for interior pieces that they were hauling out with Bobcats and wheelbarrows. Just shot this today where they have a big excavator making a big hole right there. It may have been just digging up the foundation of the walls that were in that little courtyard.

2u5xl4g.jpg

Anyone know the status of the mural and if it will be disassembled & moved/saved?

I really hope there's some way it could be saved.

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That's kinda sorta correct, except that I don't know what Century would have had to do with it (the adjoining and eventually-connected Allen Center was developed by MetLife.  MedLife sold it to TrizecHahn. TrizecHahn sold it to Brookfield.

 

Also, the building stopped being see-through long before it gained its skywalk.  The years of see-throughdom had a lot more to do with the oil bust occurring just before the building was completed than its lack of connection to the tunnels.

 

 

IIRC it was being built when the ginormous Pennzoil/Texaco lawsuit was going down, followed by Texaco's bankruptcy. 

 

If Texaco had survived as an independent company, It might have been filled from the start, but that company's particular issues combined with the industry downturn made a really big building sit really empty for a really long time. 

 

I think they dug a tunnel to the new parking garage across Bagby, though I've never been down there. 

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Someone needs to take a photo of this from Travis. They have actually taken down a large chunk of this already on that side on the ground floor.

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Someone needs to take a photo of this from Travis. They have actually taken down a large chunk of this already on that side on the ground floor.

 

This must have happened in the last couple of days.  They actually have fencing up blocking off the sidewalk on the Travis and Capitol side of the block. 

 

Triton's spotted Travis side hole:

 

yi13d.jpg

 

Fencing along Capitol - Men driving Bobcats were ferrying debris to Capitol/Milam corner along the sidewalk from Travis. 

 

nl5pcn.jpg

Edited by Nate99
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Skanska’s Capitol Tower First in Houston, One of Three in U.S. to Achieve LEED v4 Platinum Precertification - See more at: http://houston.citybizlist.com/contributed-article/skanska%E2%80%99s-capitol-tower-first-houston-one-three-us-achieve-leed-v4-platinum#sthash.5G1aruZQ.dpuf

 

 

"Skanska USA Commercial Development’s Capitol Tower is the first Houston development to be awarded LEED v4 Platinum precertification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and one of only three core and shell projects nationally to be pre-certified under the new standards. Capitol Tower, designed by architectural firm Gensler, is a 750,000-square foot Class A commercial office tower planned for the premiere downtown location of 808 Capitol Street.

 

LEED v4 is the latest version of the LEED Green Building program, considered the world’s premier benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Skanska’s Capitol Tower is one of only 122 beta projects worldwide using the new LEED v4 standards.

 

“Being among the first to achieve LEED v4 Platinum precertification is consistent with Skanska’s commitment to leadership in sustainable building practices,” said Michael Mair, executive vice president of Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston. “Our focus is to provide value for our tenants by creating built environments that are healthy, productive and resource efficient.”

 

Capitol Tower's sustainable features include:

 

  • a high-performance building façade that significantly reduces solar gain 
  • daylight harvesting technology that can significantly reduce energy usage
  • 90 percent access to daylight and views for tenants 
  • a garage with occupancy lighting sensors and a green rooftop
  • alternative vehicle charging stations
  • a rainwater collective system for reuse in landscape irrigation and water closets 
  • bicycle racks, lockers and showers to encourage commuting 

“Skanska made it clear from the beginning of the design process that they wanted this to be the most sustainable building in Houston,” said Gensler Principal Kristopher Stuart.  “We really pushed our team to move beyond anything we have done before to create a building that offers an exceptional work environment in a high-performance envelope that will dramatically reduce operating costs.  The design also places an extraordinary emphasis on public spaces and pedestrian experiences which we believe will greatly enhance and enrich Houston's urban fabric.”

 

Capitol Tower’s close proximity to the METRO rail line is another sustainable feature, offering access to public transportation just outside the front entrance. Project design plans include an expansive, two-level, open-air lobby that joins the building’s street level to the active pedestrian tunnel system, creating energy and a natural gathering place offering tenants and passersby views of the activity above and below ground."

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They're definitely moving forward. 

 

They punched a large hole in the wall about 12 feet up above the former Milam/Capitol courtyard, and those excavators are still moving dirt around over there as well. 

 

 

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Beautiful

 

Agreed.

 

Looks sharp. 

 

Also, the hole is more like 3 stories up, my recollection while typing that last post was off. 

Edited by Nate99

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I know they are moving along with demo but is there a date when  demo is projected to be finished, and a time when construction of the tower will actually start?

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I know they are moving along with demo but is there a date when  demo is projected to be finished, and a time when construction of the tower will actually start?

 

No construction timeline is available and the project is still in the "development" phase... according to Culturemap.

 

So with this, and Hines tower, and Exxon redo... there will be TONS of space downtown...

 

No International tower? :(

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I lost hope on I.T. when I realized that a few months ago.. Bummer because it was one of my favorite proposals.. Oh well. Maybe it can be saved by a large tenant who likes their design, or a switch to mixed use so there is less office space..

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I dont know why we can't arrange something like the supertall in philedalphia. If a hotel wants 30 floors, 40 floors of office, and 30 floors residential / retail bottom floors? It sounds like alot of work, but I can imagine a corporate office would like a hotel literally in the same building. And the views on top of that building would be incredible.

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I dont know why we can't arrange something like the supertall in philedalphia. If a hotel wants 30 floors, 40 floors of office, and 30 floors residential / retail bottom floors? It sounds like alot of work, but I can imagine a corporate office would like a hotel literally in the same building. And the views on top of that building would be incredible.

Part of the answer may be that in Phl. the city and state are coughing up grants to support the development.  In Houston the city is prioritizing development of residential downtown, so that is where we are seeing a lot of movement.  

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Ironic that two twenty+/- floor buildings that are otherwise probably useable are being demolished to make way for the only commercial highrises that are actually moving forward (and not just talking about moving forward) during our current economic boom, in downtown.  And I'm just making that point, not arguing in favor of preservation versus new development, just observing.

 

And that supertall in Philly - is ugly.  At least NYC and Chicago produce reasonable architectural supertalls.  Let them have that building.  Height doesn't make a city, never has and never will, and who cares who has a tall building taller than here in Houston?  We used to have the 12th - 18th tallest building in the world, but now its barely in the top 100.  So what?

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Ironic that two twenty+/- floor buildings that are otherwise probably useable are being demolished to make way for the only commercial highrises that are actually moving forward (and not just talking about moving forward) during our current economic boom, in downtown. And I'm just making that point, not arguing in favor of preservation versus new development, just observing.

And that supertall in Philly - is ugly. At least NYC and Chicago produce reasonable architectural supertalls. Let them have that building. Height doesn't make a city, never has and never will, and who cares who has a tall building taller than here in Houston? We used to have the 12th - 18th tallest building in the world, but now its barely in the top 100. So what?

To your first paragraph, I think what did these buildings in is the beige brick. Imagine the same buildings with red brick... No way they get torn down. I also think these are the tallest historic buildings ever demolished downtown... only other one comparable is the Medical Arts building.

To your last comment, I think Texas Commerce was actually 7th globally when built. Could be wrong.

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It's not the easiest to tell with the light the way it was, but here's a shot of the holes on the wall facing Milam. You can see clean through the building to the hole on Travis through the doorway to the right of the Bobcat. 

 

2622yq8.jpg

Edited by Nate99
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This is a really cool phase of the project that they are in right now.  Basically they are moving the valet parking service into the short part of the building which will allow them to get started on the big demo.  between this one and 609 Main we are going to have some exciting demo going on downtown during 2014.

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From my vantage point across the way, it looks like they are hanging onto the parking income as long as humanly possible.  The garage takes up all the first half dozen floors +/- (except for the ground floor retail); so far they've been removing the interior build out.  I would not be that surprised if they start dismantling the exterior with the garage still functioning - it's valet only, with a manlift that would give OSHA the vapours (if still in use), and a generally pretty entitled acting customer base.  

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They are jackhammering like a mofo on the street level of building, makes you think twice walking through the tunnels.

 

Topside, I got this picture of two guys on a lift with a masonry saw cutting a vertical line in to the wall. More holes to follow, I presume. 

 

 2z9k46p.jpg

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Downtown Workers to Cope with Tunnel Cut: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/36-pt-headline-goes-here-and-herey-5180178.php

 

"A busy section of the downtown tunnels below the former Houston Club building will close for at least two years beginning in May as the property owner prepares to raze the aging structure above it and build a modern skyscraper in its place.

 

The closure is being done for safety reasons, the developer said Monday, but it also has the potential to affect thousands of downtown employees who work in neighboring buildings and use the tunnel - sometimes on a daily basis - to run errands or pick up lunch.

Mair said he has been in touch with adjacent building owners and city officials to inform them of the closure. Downtown group Central Houston said it will work further with building managers to make them aware of alternate routes and make minor changes to the tunnel graphics and signs.

Mair said Monday that the company has not determined whether the building will be imploded or dismantled floor by floor."

 

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So what is the likelyhood this gets built?

 

If "Class A" buildings are in high demand, and most of the aging offices are "Class B", does that mean that even if the office space available goes up, it is the Class B buildings (that may be currently filled) that will suffer?

 

 

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^I would say about a 65% chance that Skanska builds this thing.  They may pull back if so called moves by Shell/Chevron happen?  But we'll just wait and see what those moves turn out to be.

 

Personally I think we end up with yet another surface lot for the next 5-10 years, unless residential or hospitality is in the cards in this area (and truth be known a big hotel would probably do well here).

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I wold sat there's an 80% chance it gets built. The built their first Houston tower last year with no tenants lined up, leased the entire thing to one client, then sold it to them.

 

that is an excellent start for a first venture in this town- I'm thinking they know they can do it again.

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I gonna miss getting lunch at the ET grill ("eat grill").

 

You will still be able to get there, you will just have to go in through the Chase tower or the older JP Morgan Chase building. 

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Oh my, people are actually going to have to go above ground to eat their lunch. What an absurd suggestion.

That's one of the problems with downtown. It just seems so sterile with the lack of bodies on the surface to make it a more viable living city. I think everyone should be required to do their lunch hour above ground at least once a week. Hey a little sunshine or rain never hurt anyone.

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How likely now? There will have to be alot of companies pining to get into downtown for this tower to work:

 

http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/01-28-14-major-oil-company-quietly-downsizes-its-downtown-operations-as-an-iconic-tower-is-revamped/

 

That probably doesn't change much.

 

My recollection from when they renewed is that Shell has the option past a certain date in the future to lease additional space in Two Shell. This would mean than any leases past that date would have to be subject to Shell's rights and could be terminated if Shell exercises its option. That makes the Two Shell space much less attractive to a tenant looking for a major block, but would keep the building leasable to smaller tenants on shorter term leases.

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How likely now? There will have to be alot of companies pining to get into downtown for this tower to work:

 

http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/01-28-14-major-oil-company-quietly-downsizes-its-downtown-operations-as-an-iconic-tower-is-revamped/

 

I don't understand how Shell signed a lease for 1.3 million sf of space downtown in 2011, and then decides now that they don't need 470k of it.

 

A couple clues from an article in 2012:

 

Today, Shell’s downtown offices occupy space at One Shell, Two Shell, Pennzoil Place and Two Houston Center, but by 2014 the company will be in One Shell, Two Shell and 1000 Main. Shell is working towards modernizing its workplace, to allow for greater collaboration and less isolation of employees. The company expects the size of the staff to stay the same, but the workflow and interaction will become more efficient.

 

“Following a very detailed analysis of options available within downtown and in suburban areas, a renewal at One and Two Shell most closely matched our business needs and employee experience we wanted to create,” says Jeri A. Ballard, vice president of global real estate strategy & portfolio for Royal Dutch Shell. “This included access to amenities, public transportation options, minimized commute time, economics and total carbon footprint of the location.” Ballard adds that no other part of town offers the depth of amenities found downtown.

 

“We did evaluate constructing a new building in the Houston central business district, but the One and Two Shell options most closely meet our needs,” says Ballard. “Hines will be going through a major base building modernization of One and Two Shell, which will ensure that they will remain class A buildings for years to come.”

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Back down to 33 floors? Weren't we projected at 37 at some point?

The report also says 609 Main is 41 floors, so I don't believe all their info is accurate.

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The report also says 609 Main is 41 floors, so I don't believe all their info is accurate.

Sure enough.... Sigh. Was hoping this outlet could be confirmation of projects. It's so odd that this organization uses either outdated or inaccurate data. Sorry guys.

Edit: maybe we'll see corrected numbers in their next report?

Edited by Triton
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SInce demolition work is underway on the Houston Club, why is the expected "delivery" date 1Q 2018 - a full year after 609 Main and later even than Brookfield / 5 Allen Center, about which we haven't heard a word?  I would have thought if anything that Capitol Tower would be next to break ground after 609 Main.  

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