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Texas Tower: 47-Story Office Tower For Block 58


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2 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

This picture made my day. I have not generally liked this building so far, as I fear the march of glass and concrete into the Historic District. But at ground level, this is pivotal for downtown Houston. We have not, since before World War II, seen a Class A office building that devoted such attention to the ground level, sidewalk experience. Texas Commerce Tower had ground floor retail as a nod to Main Street, but it was in the parking garage building. BG Group Place turned a cold shoulder to Main. 609 Main has ground floor retail but it's sort of an afterthought architecturally; the emphasis is increasing but it's not really there yet. But this building (1) sharply differentiates the first two floors from the rest of the building, (2) puts the retail on the best street frontage, Texas Avenue, (3) makes the office entrance secondary to the retail - a total revolution for downtown, and (4) adds a canopy as a significant architectural component, in the tradition of the Rice Hotel, acknowledging the climate and the needs of pedestrians, i.e., people who are not necessarily tenants of the building (!). I mean, you literally have to go back to the days of the Gulf Building, 1929, to see this kind of recognition of the street and the public domain in a Houston office building. Obviously the Houston Center reno gives similar attention, but that's a renovation. This is the most premium product from the most premium developer in Houston. A century has gone by and the circle is complete; an era has finally ended, a new one has begun.

 

How in the world was this allowed to happen? I still don’t understand it. 

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46 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

How in the world was this allowed to happen? I still don’t understand it. 

Well, there's no design review or zoning so up to the developer and possibly the tenant. I think Hines made it optional for the tenant to open to the exterior and Frost Bank didn't want to. Hines did envision that building as an attempt to revitalize central downtown, but it was more like, "We shall grace them with the presence of our expensive building" rather than really embracing the place architecturally. They saved the Stowers Building, though, and put a nice lobby on Rusk, so baby steps. The urban renaissance hadn't happened in Houston at that point, although people on here were trying to awaken understanding and the city and Metro were doing all they could with things like the Main Street rebuild, Cotswold Project, etc.

 

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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

This picture made my day. I have not generally liked this building so far, as I fear the march of glass and concrete into the Historic District. But at ground level, this is pivotal for downtown Houston. We have not, since before World War II, seen a Class A office building that devoted such attention to the ground level, sidewalk experience. Texas Commerce Tower had ground floor retail as a nod to Main Street, but it was in the parking garage building. BG Group Place turned a cold shoulder to Main. 609 Main has ground floor retail but it's sort of an afterthought architecturally; the emphasis is increasing but it's not really there yet. But this building (1) sharply differentiates the first two floors from the rest of the building, (2) puts the retail on the best street frontage, Texas Avenue, (3) makes the office entrance secondary to the retail - a total revolution for downtown, and (4) adds a canopy as a significant architectural component, in the tradition of the Rice Hotel, acknowledging the climate and the needs of pedestrians, i.e., people who are not necessarily tenants of the building (!). I mean, you literally have to go back to the days of the Gulf Building, 1929, to see this kind of recognition of the street and the public domain in a Houston office building. Obviously the Houston Center reno gives similar attention, but that's a renovation. This is the most premium product from the most premium developer in Houston. A century has gone by and the circle is complete; an era has finally ended, a new one has begun.

 

In late August of 2019 I decided to go check out Understory for lunch. I was walking along the building on the Rusk Street side wondering what-the-eff is wrong with this city that no one builds arcades or some sort of shade devices to protect pedestrians from the killer sun. This building is a welcome change. But is it the beginning of a trend? I personally just can't muster that much optimism. 

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19 hours ago, MidCenturyMoldy said:

In late August of 2019 I decided to go check out Understory for lunch. I was walking along the building on the Rusk Street side wondering what-the-eff is wrong with this city that no one builds arcades or some sort of shade devices to protect pedestrians from the killer sun. This building is a welcome change. But is it the beginning of a trend? I personally just can't muster that much optimism. 

The Discovery West tower by Skanska has the retail entrances recessed from the above facade, so that pedestrians have shade cover as they walk along Lamar Street.

 

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On 11/8/2021 at 1:51 PM, MidCenturyMoldy said:

In late August of 2019 I decided to go check out Understory for lunch. I was walking along the building on the Rusk Street side wondering what-the-eff is wrong with this city that no one builds arcades or some sort of shade devices to protect pedestrians from the killer sun.

In Chicago, nobody built arcades, either, until the city gave the developers reasons to do so.  Now, if a building has an arcade or a public through-lobby, the developer gets extra height allowance.

Obviously, that won't work in Houston, since the developers decide their own heights.  But perhaps there is some other carrot that can be offered to make these skyscrapers more neighborhood-friendly. 

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Obviously, that won't work in Houston, since the developers decide their own heights.  But perhaps there is some other carrot that can be offered to make these skyscrapers more neighborhood-friendly. 

The problem is that you really want the arcade along the sidewalk, but our sidewalks are often utility easements / building setbacks.  I think the simple thing to do would be to confirm a maximum height on the aerial easement that the utilities and city can have that way more developers would be encouraged to do what Hines did here.  Centerpoint is a HUGE jerk when it comes to easement standards and while I 100% understand the need for safety standards, their requirements are more often out of laziness and accessibility for their trucks.

It would also help if the city could define canopies as exempt from setback requirements.

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I think the ground level looks better/more contemporary, and it's definitely more pedestrian friendly than a 15 year old building would likely be. 

And I like the shape - it will never be the crown jewel of the skyline, and in fact is seriously overshadowed by its residential neighbor, but it's pretty solid.

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It looks like What If Syndicate has adjusted their plans.  They had planned a concept called Delilah's in both Texas Tower and on State Street in Chicago's Gold Coast.  They are still planning the same concept but changed the name to "Cafe Sophie".  Cafe Sophie will feature pastries, wood-fired breakfast sandwiches, and a full bar: it’s a space designed for customers to stay a while. There will also be a retail section where visitors can buy home kitchen supplies. (This description is specifically for their Gold Coast location, bu they also say they have a signed lease in Houston for the same concept.)

(It turns out the owner of the other Delilah's in Chicago objected to their use of that name.)

 

https://chicago.eater.com/2021/11/12/22778060/cafe-sophie-chicago-gold-coast-what-if-maple-ash-all-day-european?fbclid=IwAR1V47M_1iS1CWtEXUff808ed-yzU3lvwp9GoWg0zqKLWoCQhIZY9WBG1nQ

Edited by Houston19514
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3 hours ago, rechlin said:

I am only downtown about 40% as often as before, and I usually don't venture over to this side of downtown, so today I got my first close-up view of this tower in a while.  Pictures can't do it justice; it really looks great in person.  Hines outdid themselves here.

IYbNTd7.jpg

 

 

 

 

I absolutely agree.  It's outstanding.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was worried that you had been hit by a car and I was missing your updates. Glad you are alive!

When Hines announced these two towers I thought the office tower was fine if not a bit boring but that I'd love the residential. It's the exact opposite. This office tower is really a nice addition. I don't really like the residential one. Don't hate it but don't like it either.

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8 minutes ago, KinkaidAlum said:

Was worried that you had been hit by a car and I was missing your updates. Glad you are alive!

When Hines announced these two towers I thought the office tower was fine if not a bit boring but that I'd love the residential. It's the exact opposite. This office tower is really a nice addition. I don't really like the residential one. Don't hate it but don't like it either.

Wasn't hit by a car but you won't believe this but when I woke up one morning I had twisted my right knee while sleeping. I had initially somewhat messed up the cartilage when we used to go to Galveston and playing sand volley ball. Never really hurt but it would occasionally lock up when walking fast or pivoting on that leg.

I think I messed that cartilage much worse, been wearing a brace but I don't think I can ride again anytime soon. I took these driving around.

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32 minutes ago, hindesky said:

Wasn't hit by a car but you won't believe this but when I woke up one morning I had twisted my right knee while sleeping. I had initially somewhat messed up the cartilage when we used to go to Galveston and playing sand volley ball. Never really hurt but it would occasionally lock up when walking fast or pivoting on that leg.

I think I messed that cartilage much worse, been wearing a brace but I don't think I can ride again anytime soon. I took these driving around.

great to have you back! forum was noticeably more dead without your updates 

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On 12/5/2021 at 1:50 PM, hindesky said:

Wasn't hit by a car but you won't believe this but when I woke up one morning I had twisted my right knee while sleeping. I had initially somewhat messed up the cartilage when we used to go to Galveston and playing sand volley ball. Never really hurt but it would occasionally lock up when walking fast or pivoting on that leg.

I think I messed that cartilage much worse, been wearing a brace but I don't think I can ride again anytime soon. I took these driving around.

I so feel your pain.....hope you get better fast.....I missed riding my bike so much when I got hurt - I hope you're back on your bike in no time !!!

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On 12/5/2021 at 1:50 PM, hindesky said:

Wasn't hit by a car but you won't believe this but when I woke up one morning I had twisted my right knee while sleeping. I had initially somewhat messed up the cartilage when we used to go to Galveston and playing sand volley ball. Never really hurt but it would occasionally lock up when walking fast or pivoting on that leg.

I think I messed that cartilage much worse, been wearing a brace but I don't think I can ride again anytime soon. I took these driving around.

That's no fun. I had to have surgery to remove the torn parts of cartilage in my right knee. Walked out of the hospital with less pain than when I went in. Cartilage doesn't heal very fast, there's no real blood supply. I hope it gets better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've walked around the exterior of this building a couple of times in the last few days, and it looks like a nice place.  The landscaping looks really promising, and it's nice that there's lot of brick in the pathways instead of concrete. 

The central restaurant space is... interesting.  I almost wish there wouldn't be one there, and it could be lit up like an art installation.   But if a restaurant it brings people downtown, I'm for it.

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On 1/1/2022 at 6:38 PM, htxbuildinggeek said:

My parents and I always said 609 Main was Houston’s version of London’s Shard building

I guess I've never seen it like this... to each their own. For me, 609 Main has always been a good building, but certainly nothing iconic or noteworthy. The closest this city gets to something iconic for me is 700 Louisiana.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • The title was changed to Texas Tower: 47-Story Office Tower For Block 58

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