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Any updates on 800 Bell (former Exxon Building)?


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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

Don't know if anything is really happening, but recently bit the bullet and got a Houston Business Journal sub. So far I'm not regretting it. Found this on the site:   Anyone have any other

I am guessing that is just to refit a floor for marketing efforts. 

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They aren't destroying much. I did some work a while back on this building, and it's like stepping in to a basement it's so closed in. I'm excited for the redevelopment because this building is a bit of an eyesore to the south view of downtown.

I've never been inside, so I'm not emotionally invested with the interior. I really like the plaza redevelopment.

The exterior is a different story. Even if you don't like the building surely you can appreciate diversity in the skyline...

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My mother worked here for 30 years.  I remember one of the security guards taking me to see the Petroleum Club and going outside to the top of the building when I was a child.  It seemed so tall!  This was the early 70's and I believe it was one of the tallest buildings in DT then.  I have mixed feelings.  Although the building is certainly among the older towers in Houston--coming before the 80's boom; it brings a bit of mid-century modern nostalgia and architectural "history" to our otherwise relatively "new" DT.

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  • 2 months later...

http://swamplot.com/descend-into-the-new-tunnel-concourse-planned-beneath-the-former-exxonmobil-tower-downtown/2015-12-22/

 

PERMITS WERE ISSUED yesterday for construction of a new tunnel concoursebelow 800 Bell St. —  the Louisiana tunnel will be tied into the new digs planned beneath the former ExxonMobil building, at the corner of Bell and Milam downtown.
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It would be fantastic if they started building the sunken concourse/tunnel connection, attracting a lead tenant before renovations were started on the facade, saving the towers design AND getting the getting desired tunnel connection.. Heh.

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I think it will look better in the same way Mickey Leeland looks better nearby. That side of downtown is a wall of plain buildings (esp from Galleria pics) and glass will probably look better IMO, I actually hope some other Leeland sized buildings (The Allen Buildings) and the empty Days Inn nearby do facade renovations too. Houston can look better both by building new and renovating old like redo on the building with the table top with round hole in the top.

The only buildings that need to be redone are anything American Liberty has put up. Stop erasing history! :) same mentality in the 70's when they were renovating historic facades to make them modern, destroying their charm in the process.

That's fine if you want glossy towers, but there are plenty of empty blocks near by. Don't you think a variety of styles is more pleasing visually?

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While the Leland reskin turned out well, it was also necessary - the original curtain wall leaked and IIRC only had single pane glass, right beside a freeway.  If it weren't a "had to," I'd have preferred it stay in all its early 80s earth toned glory - sooner or later, it will become fashionably retro, just like MCM has.

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I worked in this building almost a decade ago and back then the interiors were badly outdated and ugly.  There is nothing beautiful about the exterior, either.  It's just unique and is one of the clearest examples of mid-century modern architecture this city still has. 

 

A 1986 Nissan Pulsar might have sentimental value as your first car in high school, but that doesn't make it a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom.  If the building vanished this afternoon, I wouldn't even read the news to find out why.

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I think it will look better in the same way Mickey Leeland looks better nearby. That side of downtown is a wall of plain buildings (esp from Galleria pics) and glass will probably look better IMO, I actually hope some other Leeland sized buildings (The Allen Buildings) and the empty Days Inn nearby do facade renovations too. Houston can look better both by building new and renovating old like redo on the building with the table top with round hole in the top.

The ML building was not unique tho. It went from hedious to ordinary, which is a net plus. The plans for 800 bell takes it from landmark to ordinary. That's a net minus. They can spruce up the exterior without completely covering it up.

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I worked in this building almost a decade ago and back then the interiors were badly outdated and ugly. There is nothing beautiful about the exterior, either. It's just unique and is one of the clearest examples of mid-century modern architecture this city still has.

A 1986 Nissan Pulsar might have sentimental value as your first car in high school, but that doesn't make it a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom. If the building vanished this afternoon, I wouldn't even read the news to find out why.

This building Was The rolls route of the day. People visited it just to see it and take souvenirs of the building. Again an update can be made without being drastic. They can coat the exterior of the building in glass without covering the fins. Heck they can paint the building pink, but the standout feature of the building are the fins

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Are people seriously comparing this iconic/historic MCM to the Mickey Leeland building? Wow, I get that we all have opinions on design, but it's clear this is the best/one of the only examples of a MCM skyscraper that this city has, and some of you want to clad it in glass to blend in with every other tower built in the last 30 years...? Ugh. Save our history!!!

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Are people seriously comparing this iconic/historic MCM to the Mickey Leeland building? Wow, I get that we all have opinions on design, but it's clear this is the best/one of the only examples of a MCM skyscraper that this city has, and some of you want to clad it in glass to blend in with every other tower built in the last 30 years...? Ugh. Save our history!!!

^ preach

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This building Was The rolls route of the day. People visited it just to see it and take souvenirs of the building. Again an update can be made without being drastic. They can coat the exterior of the building in glass without covering the fins. Heck they can paint the building pink, but the standout feature of the building are the fins

 

My point exactly.  There is no such thing as "the Rolls-Royce of its day."  A 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III has no day.  It is timeless.  This building is a relic and nothing more.  I can appreciate that people visited it in 1965, but this is not the Chrysler Building.  No one is visiting it now

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My point exactly. There is no such thing as "the Rolls-Royce of its day." A 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III has no day. It is timeless. This building is a relic and nothing more. I can appreciate that people visited it in 1965, but this is not the Chrysler Building. No one is visiting it now

It may not be showing up in any mainstream architecture books but it's a shame to get rid of something half a century old. We don't need another 1000 Main, we need greater diversity and different examples of period architecture that will soon be lost forever. Edited by Montrose1100
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My point exactly. There is no such thing as "the Rolls-Royce of its day." A 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III has no day. It is timeless. This building is a relic and nothing more. I can appreciate that people visited it in 1965, but this is not the Chrysler Building. No one is visiting it now

no one is visiting any buildings nowadays. Point still stands tho.it is different and many long time Houstonians have find memories of it. Who needs another glass box? Why not make it resemble the chevron buildings making use of the fins?
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no one is visiting any buildings nowadays. 

 

Not so.  The Chase sky lobby gets visitors daily.

 

I don't know about resurrecting the machine that made a plastic model before your very eyes, but 800 Bell's observation deck still has a great panorama (unlike, say, Spindletop at the Hyatt).

 

MCM is going through a resurgence right now.  Turning 800 Bell into another anonymous box is a lot like gluing all that white marble onto what is now the JW Marriott.

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Turning 800 Bell into another anonymous box is a lot like gluing all that white marble onto what is now the JW Marriott.

 

 

Great analogy with the downtown JW Marriott facade. Do we really want to clad this tower in a new glass facade, just to rip it all off in 50 years to restore the original finned design?

 

 

If they go back with something that gives the optical illusion of fins without actually installing fins, we'd have a direct analog.

 

It seems a risk of anything that is done in a particular style. At some point, there is a chance that people are going to look at it and think that it is obsolete, ugly, faddish, and/or could be improved upon through significant visual modification only to have the passage of time make the once unfavored appearance valuable to some.  Just because it stands out as unique, is it worthy of keeping?

 

There's bound to be some diversity of opinion around here, I'd imagine.

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AFIK, MCM horizontal fins were pretty much a Houston thing.  They helped with the A/C load by giving a bit of shade in the days before reliable insulating glass.  Other examples that leap to mind are the Wortham Tower in American General Center, Kinder/Morgan née Tenneco, One City Centre, née First City National Bank, the Melrose Building (soon to be Le Meridien), plus Central Square before the remodeling.

 

Having once had a west facing office in Wortham, as well as various south and west facing offices in other buildings without insulating glass, I can vouch for their efficacy.

Edited by mollusk
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AFIK, MCM horizontal fins were pretty much a Houston thing.  They helped with the A/C load by giving a bit of shade in the days before reliable insulating glass.  Other examples that leap to mind are the Wortham Tower in American General Center, Kinder/Morgan née Tenneco, One City Centre, née First City National Bank, the Melrose Building (soon to be Le Meridien), plus Central Square before the remodeling.

 

Having once had a west facing office in Wortham, as well as various south and west facing offices in other buildings without insulating glass, I can vouch for their efficacy.

 

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building looks like a mini-Exxon. I couldn't tell you any others though...

 

1958577.jpg

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Those fins aren't structural. There's no way they could become balconies

Ah, really? I wasn't sure about what the fins could support. Not that it really matters at this point given Shoresteins plans to deface the tower and maintain its use as an office tower.. Hopefully we aren't looking at a vacant 1+ million sq ft skyscraper in downtown for very long...

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I won't lie - I love this building's shape and style.  If it had floor to ceiling glass and the shades, I think it would be exceptional.   The skyscraper that the main characters in the movie Inception lived in...it was very similar to this on the outside and was very cool.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i would expect next to no movement on this in the near term... things are starting to get reeeaaal ugly. anyone blowing sunshine up your keester is clueless.

 

I guess this gives me more time to get some pictures of it before they go all nip/tuck on it.  Anybody on here in a north-facing room at 2016 Main??  Will pay beer in exchange for balcony access :)

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i would expect next to no movement on this in the near term... things are starting to get reeeaaal ugly. anyone blowing sunshine up your keester is clueless.

 

Agreed. Inflation adjusted, oil prices are now below 1990 and 2000 levels: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2016/01/is-oil-cheap.html

 

I just don't see any viable office in this market at all.

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I guess this gives me more time to get some pictures of it before they go all nip/tuck on it.  Anybody on here in a north-facing room at 2016 Main??  Will pay beer in exchange for balcony access :)

 

sometime last year it was repeated that shorenstein was already committed to reskinning the building but i have no idea if that's even viable anymore.

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sometime last year it was repeated that shorenstein was already committed to reskinning the building but i have no idea if that's even viable anymore.

 

Would Shorenstein seek out tenants at much reduced rates on a shorter-term basis to recoup some of their holding costs? I understanding keeping a parking lot as is to keep property taxes, maintenance, and liability costs down, but holding a vacant skyscraper such as this one would be much more expensive.  This was the one project where, despite the severe oil downturn, I thought the economics might favor pushing through with the renovation to seek higher rents down the line.  

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Jgriff & Nate whispering under their breath "damn"... ;)

She's spared (For now). A real shame the city didn't decided to occupy this space. Will be interesting to see how long this downturn lasts and how long after prices rise that the O&G companies will start growing again.

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  • Subdude changed the title to Any updates on 800 Bell (former Exxon Building)?

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