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800 Bell St. (Former Exxon Building) Updates


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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

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

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 th

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http://www.globest.c...30107:editorial

it will be interesting to see how Shorentstein redevelops it. plus it's nice to see some momentum on this side of downtown.

Could you describe what you are referencing? The link doesn't discuss the Exxon building.

On edit:

The San Francisco firm said to be buying downtown’s Exxon Mobil tower has closed on the property and is planning a major redevelopment of the building.

The buyer, San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties, did not reveal the purchase price but said the acquisition was made “markedly below current replacement costs.”....

Exxon Mobil will lease back the building until 2015 when the company consolidates workers to a new campus under construction south of The Woodlands.

http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/01/california-buyer-gets-keys-to-exxon-building/

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So it appears Shorenstein will redevelop the building as office space. Very interesting and a little surprising, given what we've been told on this forum about the building's interior. In any case, there sure are a lot of office projects bubbling in downtown Houston...

Hilcorp's 2-block project (Macy's and Americana blocks)

Skanska's Houston Club Building replacement

Hines' next tower on Main Street

Shorenstein's redevelopment of the Exxon tower

plus the possible

5 Allen Center and

6 Houston Center

I hope we see some dirt flying in 2013 on one or more of these projects. (On even more of a side note; damn it's frustrating to have Skanska and now Hilcorp (possibly) tear down buildings to replace them with presumably larger towers, when we still have an abundance of surface parking lots downtown. Arrrggghhh)

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Good luck with the tunnel extension, Chevron keeps their tangent of the tunnel system access controlled.

The access controlled part wouldn't be where they would connect. They'd have to go through the open parts of the tunnel to get to the access controlled part.

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It would still be a long stretch of tunnel to connect via the Wedge building. Without retail in a long stretch of tunnel it still might not get much use.

isn't the exxon building caddy-corner to wedge? not that long of a stretch although it would be sparsely populated (for now). if shorenstein is to be succesful in repositioning the building tunnel connectivity is an absolute imperative and i'm sure they feel the same way. won't be cheap but it's a cost they are likely more than willing to fork out.

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Yeah, but it seems that buildings at the end of tunnels where there aren't a lot of retail business don't get all that much traffic. As I recall there isn't that much now around the Wedge Bldg. It's like going to the Calpine Bldg. at the opposite end of the tunnel system.

You know, I wonder what the impact of this news will have on other mooted downtown projects (Skanska, Hines, Brookfield, Macy's-Americana). Would not 50 renovated floors coming on to the market - tunnel connection or not - depress demand for new buildings?

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Yeah, but it seems that buildings at the end of tunnels where there aren't a lot of retail business don't get all that much traffic. As I recall there isn't that much now around the Wedge Bldg. It's like going to the Calpine Bldg. at the opposite end of the tunnel system.

You know, I wonder what the impact of this news will have on other mooted downtown projects (Skanska, Hines, Brookfield, Macy's-Americana). Would not 50 renovated floors coming on to the market - tunnel connection or not - depress demand for new buildings?

It's all about getting leases signed. Also, the Exxon tower will probably not be ready for tenants until at least 2016, perhaps 2017. Hines and Brookfield, and possibly the other 2 as well, could get a tenant into their proposed new tower in 2015.

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  • 5 months later...

The award-winning design proposal by Ziegler Cooper:

 

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Kirksey design, losing proposal:

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Article from January: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/realestate/01-07-13-11-07-san-francisco-developer-buys-exxon-mobil-building-for-major-re-do-and-possible-tunnel-expansion/

Edited by Urbannizer
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That definitely modernizes this building in a much needed way.  I remember someone talking about how tired they are of the all glass look but I think this still combines enough of the old floor awning overhang while adding a new roof element to keep it from looking "too glassy".  I think Kirksey has done a good job with this concept.

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This is an outrage. Kinda cool looking one though... They are doing to this building what they did in the 70's to 806 Main, the Chronicle building... Erasing history.

 

So as you can tell I'm a little torn. This new design is impressive, and I see they are using elements from the original design.

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Where do these employees park?

 

There is currently underground parking for the building but I don't think enough for all of the employees.  A neighbor of mine works in the building and I know he parks at one of the surrounding parking garages.

 

Very nice. In my opinion, an upgrade over its current appearance--- which I'm not a huge fan of.

 

My question is, is this an architects weekend project that were seeing or is there substance to possible renovations? 

 

I remember hearing about this building getting renovated for a while now.  When Exxon moves it's employees to the new complex this building will be looking for tenants again and I don't think it will be an easy sell without renovations.  I'd say there is substance.

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Where do these employees park?

 

According to the article, "....The Exxon Mobil tower and its seven-story garage cover two downtown blocks...."

 

Edit: Brijonmang got it.  :)

 

Edited by Triton
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Very nice. In my opinion, an upgrade over its current appearance--- which I'm not a huge fan of.

 

My question is, is this an architects weekend project that were seeing or is there substance to possible renovations? 

 

The building was sold earlier this year to Shorenstein Properties who said they planned "significant improvements" to the building "to increase the property’s value by establishing its long-term position and further enhancing its reputation in the market"

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One of the problems with this building is there is nothing around it, compared to the other Class A office towers in downtown (and no tunnel access, although I hate the tunnels).  That said, this part of downtown appears to be picking up though, so perhaps they can get the high paying tenants.  

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I honestly don't like it. This building is one of my favorites downtown. They should've just cleaned out the inside and was the outside maybe replace a few things. Downtown needs more brick building and not so many glass boxes. Hopefully the next wave of construction will be a humble one with more brick and detail.

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Bad news: Kirksey didn't get the bid, so these renderings (and the video, already removed from the Vimeo page) are just for show.

 

Here's the story on Swamplot:

 

No, the Renovated Bell St. ExxonMobil Building Is Not Gonna Look Like This

 

Probably another situation where an Architectural firm agreed to do an initial study only, for peanuts, hoping to get the big commission in the future.

 

Once the developer get the ideas they probably shopped around the production/cd portion to other firms who could do it for even less money. 

 

Gotta love how the architecture industry operates.

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I honestly don't like it. This building is one of my favorites downtown. They should've just cleaned out the inside and was the outside maybe replace a few things. Downtown needs more brick building and not so many glass boxes. Hopefully the next wave of construction will be a humble one with more brick and detail.

 

When 800 Bell was built, it was ten years before Humble changed its name to Exxon, so this was a humble building too.

 

Welton Becket and Associates was one of the world's largest architectural firms at that time, and practice made perfect in this case, infinite_jim.

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what is so special about this building's design. like someone said, it looks like a radiator. Not attractive or noteworthy. Update it please!

 

It's special because it looks so different. Art is subjective. It was the tallest west of the Mississippi when completed, it is a historical Houston structure. What is so special about erasing history?

 

Also, refer to this post http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/11598-exxon-building-800-bell-st/?p=249990

 

Edit: Although I would like to point out he is wrong that the building stood higher in ranking back in 1963, the Texas Commerce Tower was the 6th Tallest Buildling in the world when it was completed in 1982. 800 Bell was #27th in 1963.

Edited by Montrose1100
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what is so special about this building's design. like someone said, it looks like a radiator. Not attractive or noteworthy. Update it please!

 

It's a classic mid-century design. This style has actually come back into fashion. I used to walk by this building daily. I think it's the best looking building downtown.

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honestly im thrilled they are renovating the older buildings on the south side of downtown. we used to always get so much hate about our "boring beige boxy buildings", so its nice to see that slowly changing. i do feel for the people who liked the old design, but i appreciate the fact they tried to reuse some of the old design features.

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For me, the differences in opinion on how this building looks is interesting.  I watched it being built, and its always reminded me of a stack of razor blades.  I.e., I never liked it.

 

While I don't expect the re-do to work a miracle, I hope they tone down the shade-giving metal flaps and use some kind of tinted glass instead.

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For me, the differences in opinion on how this building looks is interesting. I watched it being built, and its always reminded me of a stack of razor blades. I.e., I never liked it.

While I don't expect the re-do to work a miracle, I hope they tone down the shade-giving metal flaps and use some kind of tinted glass instead.

I'm sure they actually give shade though. The mini shade blades on these newer buildings probably give hardly any shade inside.

For me, the differences in opinion on how this building looks is interesting. I watched it being built, and its always reminded me of a stack of razor blades. I.e., I never liked it.

While I don't expect the re-do to work a miracle, I hope they tone down the shade-giving metal flaps and use some kind of tinted glass instead.

I'm sure they actually give shade though. The mini shade blades on these newer buildings probably give hardly any shade inside.

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

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