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Schlumberger Old Building At 5000 Gulf Freeway


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14e46mt.jpg

What can anyone tell us about this structure/complex. Was this originally built for Schlumberger? The complex behind the offices is huge, stretching back almost to the Brays Bayou.

I would place the architecture at mid-late 50s, although it has some very late Moderne lines, so late 40s-early 50s wouldn't be a complete surprise. Quite a striking piece now that time has changed the rest of the city.

One wonders how long/if this set of buildings will survive. The location, being 5 minutes from DT is bound to undergo redevelopment soon, not to mention the possibility/inevitability of the widening/reconstruction of the Gulf Fwy a la the Katy Fwy, which would gobble up much of the businesses lining it.

Among the feeder road fungus, this should be considered a flower.

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14e46mt.jpg

What can anyone tell us about this structure/complex. Was this originally built for Schlumberger? The complex behind the offices is huge, stretching back almost to the Brays Bayou.

I would place the architecture at mid-late 50s, although it has some very late Moderne lines, so late 40s-early 50s wouldn't be a complete surprise. Quite a striking piece now that time has changed the rest of the city.

One wonders how long/if this set of buildings will survive. The location, being 5 minutes from DT is bound to undergo redevelopment soon, not to mention the possibility/inevitability of the widening/reconstruction of the Gulf Fwy a la the Katy Fwy, which would gobble up many of the businesses lining it.

Among the feeder road fungus, this should be considered a flower.

Yes, this was originaly built for Schlumberger. He was very much into cutting-edge art and architecture as was his daughter Dominique De Menil whose influence can be seen at the Menil Collection for free Wednesdays through Sundays.

:)

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I had also heard at one time that the land was offered to HCC. I'm suprised it's still standing and that nothing has been done to the property.

14e46mt.jpg

What can anyone tell us about this structure/complex. Was this originally built for Schlumberger? The complex behind the offices is huge, stretching back almost to the Brays Bayou.

I would place the architecture at mid-late 50s, although it has some very late Moderne lines, so late 40s-early 50s wouldn't be a complete surprise. Quite a striking piece now that time has changed the rest of the city.

One wonders how long/if this set of buildings will survive. The location, being 5 minutes from DT is bound to undergo redevelopment soon, not to mention the possibility/inevitability of the widening/reconstruction of the Gulf Fwy a la the Katy Fwy, which would gobble up much of the businesses lining it.

Among the feeder road fungus, this should be considered a flower.

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I'd be unwilling to believe that UH would tear this particular structure down at any point in the future...they aren't like TMC, Inc. and would be too severely admonished if they tried.

I kind of envision this Business Park as an expansion area for them in the far-flung future, complete with overpasses or underpasses, linking the campus across the BNSF rail yard.

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Not sure why everyone is surprised that this building is still standing...I guess folks in Houston are always surprised to see attractive, somewhat historic buildings untouched by a wrecking ball.

If UH admin had been moved to Schlumberger, I wonder if they'll be moving out soon? I understood that a lot of the UH admin would be moving into office space in the new UH parking garage on Calhoun at University...I wonder how many of those (if any) will be coming from Schlumberger?

Last time I drove by Schlumberger (which has been a few years), it looked pretty vacant. It would be nice to see it filled to capacity. UH needs all the $$$ it can get (since our state legislature refuses to adequately fund us).

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  • 9 months later...
14e46mt.jpg

What can anyone tell us about this structure/complex. Was this originally built for Schlumberger? The complex behind the offices is huge, stretching back almost to the Brays Bayou.

I would place the architecture at mid-late 50s, although it has some very late Moderne lines, so late 40s-early 50s wouldn't be a complete surprise. Quite a striking piece now that time has changed the rest of the city.

One wonders how long/if this set of buildings will survive. The location, being 5 minutes from DT is bound to undergo redevelopment soon, not to mention the possibility/inevitability of the widening/reconstruction of the Gulf Fwy a la the Katy Fwy, which would gobble up much of the businesses lining it.

Among the feeder road fungus, this should be considered a flower.

As Maxwell Smart would say - "It's the old resurrrect the old topic story"...

Old stomping grounds, we used to try to catch the live really big goldfish they had swimming around in the front foyer as you entered the offices. As soon as the secretary would notice us we would run away.Probably saw us on cameras and just laughed.

Several years later one of our other teenaged friend's mom actually married one of the big shots from Schlumberger. They just lived on the side street on Claremont st. Her maiden name was Thurman but can't recall the old guys name, nevertheless she struck it big. They moved away (couldn't blame em). The company eventually moved to Sugarland I think was vacant for a good (years) until U of H grabbed it. Boy talk about going back in time. Days and Confused era. Jeez.

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My dad used to work at Schlumberger on the Gulf Freeway and then later at Sugar Land until he retired. I never made it to Sugar Land, but I do remember visiting him a few times on the Gulf Freeway. They had a big party there in 1977 for the company's 50th anniversary. To a kid, it seemed like the place went on forever. I know my dad preferred the Gulf Freeway location to Sugar Land and was glad he was one of the last to leave for the new digs.

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There used to be a fairly large wooded area behind the Schlumberger building which was still fairly pristine in the 1970s. It was a mix of pines and hardwoods with a lot of palmettos in the understory. Kids in the Telephone Road Place neighborhood, where "The Orange Show" is located used that as their neiborhood woods. I remember there was the foundation of a pier-and-beam house back these. The piers were still there and some steps. I always wondered about the history of that house. The last time I checked the understory had all been cleared out, a fence installed, and there were paths and benches for the folks that worked in the building to go back there and, I suppose, eat their lunch or whatever. I believe that land was owned by Rufus K. Cage at one point.

If you kept following along the bayou from there going towards U of H you would next come to a hobo jungle along the RR tracks. There was a dump full of old cheap wine bottles, beer cans, food cans, etc. After that you would come to the Blue Ribbon Packing plant (Pew!). If you had the stomach for it, you could watch them butchering animals. I think that was originally the Port City Slaughterhouse? If the wind was blowing from the SE that smell would pervade the U of H campus.

Edited by isuredid
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There used to be a fairly large wooded area behind the Schlumberger building which was still fairly pristine in the 1970s. It was a mix of pines and hardwoods with a lot of palmettos in the understory. Kids in the Telephone Road Place neighborhood, where "The Orange Show" is located used that as their neiborhood woods. I remember there was the foundation of a pier-and-beam house back these. The piers were still there and some steps. I always wondered about the history of that house. The last time I checked the understory had all been cleared out, a fence installed, and there were paths and benches for the folks that worked in the building to go back there and, I suppose, eat their lunch or whatever. I believe that land was owned by Rufus K. Cage at one point.

If you kept following along the bayou from there going towards U of H you would next come to a hobo jungle along the RR tracks. There was a dump full of old cheap wine bottles, beer cans, food cans, etc. After that you would come to the Blue Ribbon Packing plant (Pew!). If you had the stomach for it, you could watch them butchering animals. I think that was originally the Port City Slaughterhouse? If the wind was blowing from the SE that smell would pervade the U of H campus.

Thats exactly right! We used to jump on the train and ride it to the "train trestle" as we called it. This is where we would meet all the other neighborhood hippies skipping school. There was a horse everyone rode but I was too chicken to get on it. We used to walk past that scary packing plant and (this was about the time the orginal Chainsaw Massacre came out) Maybe we should start a different topic on this?

Those woods you mentioned were right next to the bayou which has always been a favorite dumping ground for stolen cars (and bodies). We would always see the police pulling out brand new cars every other weekend. Insurance jobs? who cared it was exciting. 70's flashback oh, oh! :P

Edited by Vertigo58
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  • 2 months later...

Here is an article about the Port City Stockyards from 1938. They were directly across the street from U of H. The slaughterhouse still existed until the 70s or early 80s as a Blue Ribbon facility. I could never make myself eat Blue Ribbon products after witnessing the processing of the animals, although I'm sure all such places operated much the same.

Port_City_Stockyards.jpg

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Here is an article about the Port City Stockyards from 1938. They were directly across the street from U of H. The slaughterhouse still existed until the 70s or early 80s as a Blue Ribbon facility. I could never make myself eat Blue Ribbon products after witnessing the processing of the animals, although I'm sure all such places operated much the same.

Port_City_Stockyards.jpg

Major RARE article of Houston history seriously. I dont htink haif has a topic on Houston Stockyards yet?

There was a bad odor that used to permeate that area especially on windy days. When we used to cross along those tracks there were several very old abandoned cellars/basements. Imagine what trouble they would be in these days if they left it like that? I mean there were still rusted old doors on them. It was dark when you opened you couldn't tell what in the world was down there. Hannibal Lechter? It was an adventure snooping around anyway no telling what kind of trouble we could have got in. :ph34r: Was real eerie and as I mentioned the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre was fresh on our minds.

I also noticed the other day that Schlumberger still has/owns part of the property. I thought they had left altogether. If you drive past on 45S, glance over and you will see Schlumberger on the smaller bldg by the tracks.

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Here is an article about the Port City Stockyards from 1938. They were directly across the street from U of H. The slaughterhouse still existed until the 70s or early 80s as a Blue Ribbon facility. I could never make myself eat Blue Ribbon products after witnessing the processing of the animals, although I'm sure all such places operated much the same.

Port_City_Stockyards.jpg

Port City Stockyards are now in Sealy on Hwy. 36. I don't know that they still slaughter and rend there - it doesn't smell bad - but I think they still hold a cattle auction.

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I thought that UH bought that office park about 10 years ago. Maybe they just leased some space there...

I have it on good authority from someone inside UH administration that UH is leasing the property from Schlumberger. UH originally wanted to buy it, but the state wouldn't allow it without full environmental inspections. Schlumberger wouldn't give consent for the inspections, so there was no sale. UH is just a renter.

I don't know the terms of the lease, but UH is essentially free to move out at any time.

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I have it on good authority from someone inside UH administration that UH is leasing the property from Schlumberger. UH originally wanted to buy it, but the state wouldn't allow it without full environmental inspections. Schlumberger wouldn't give consent for the inspections, so there was no sale. UH is just a renter.

I don't know the terms of the lease, but UH is essentially free to move out at any time.

When you think about it the section all the way from (Bank Building) Dumble all the way to Telephone Road exit is prime real estate to build U of H housing. On both sides of the frwy. They can build high rise condos like the twin towers at U oh H. or something along those lines. Growing up in the Broadmoor area we always had students of all ages living in apts across the street from us and in garage apts. All they had to do was walk or bike across the frwy underpass. Very inexpensive! There were several big houses along Dumble that students used to occupy. There still are pockets of students around there but again this area is el perfecto for U of H crowd. Bring em on! :lol:

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Yes, UH is currently leasing space and has people in there currently. Correct also on the environmnetal issues. My BF works for the UH IT deptartment. He'll be relocated off campus to Schlumberger for the fall semester. He's very amused by all the building plans the university has, given enrollment numbers (unless they abosrb TSU) and the constant budget cuts for basic admin services (all the licenses for anti-virus software used campus-wide are expiring soon and guess what, he has no budget to renew). The new parking garage has pretty much been a bust. Occupancy (is that the right word for cars?) in it has been low. People want to pay as little as posible for parking so they still use the surface lots. Still very much a commuter mindset for a commuter campus.

Having attended UH and lived on campus, (granted, a long time ago) and now living right across 45, I just don't see it turned into some sort of campus-town place. Namely because of Dowling through Scott streets. Unless the urban infill continues down Elgin and Alabama all the way to campus (and it looks like there is a large part of the 3rd ward community that has no intention of being bought out) even with rail people will just ride in, go to class, and ride out again.

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The nabe just next door to this Schlumberger and U of H facility would be ideal location too!

I heard most homes around there are considered "tear downs" anyway. In a sense its more cost effective to raze and build new. A mega student complex....well I guess I'm just dreaming. :(

and just a short note. When they tried to fix up the area around Scott and 45 it proved useless. The crime seemed to escalate. This is what frightens developement. Vicious cycle.

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A quick peek at HCAD shows the property owned by Houston UBP Partners, LP. They bought it from SLB in 2005. I'm not willing to pony up the fee the Secretary of State charges to look up general partners, so there's no easy way to tell who's behind the partnership.

The cool buildings were built in 1953 if HCAD is to be believed.

SLB still owns one set of buildings out there, either as a lab, or they are contaminated with something from building logging tools.

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That's an awesome building! It reminds me of Lincoln High School in Dallas. Also, it reminds me of the office complex Frank Lloyd Wright designed. I think it was for a compnay in Racine, WS.

Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin. Frank Lloyd Wright designed it for Herbert Johnson (The Herbert F. Johnson House), the grandson of the founder of the SC Johnson Company (The Johnson Wax Company). Wingspread is currently used as a conference center for the Johnson Foundation. I attended a conference at Wingspread about a decade ago and although the house was being renovated, we were given a tour. More information is available about

Wingspread from the following websites.

<http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/FLW_wingspread.html>

<http://www.johnsonfdn.org/#>

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  • 7 months later...

The nabe this Schlumberger Building is in is where they give the homes away. Blocks from the Orange Show for those unfamiliar. Even better views of DT and extremely close to U of H main campus. A lazy person's dream come true. Proximity is eveything. Singles and couple's fair perfectly.

Haif Disclaimer: No I am not a realtor. :D Peace all!

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Schlumberger still owns something in the area. My friend who works for the Parks Board said that they are trying to acquire land along the Braes bayou for the greenspace/hike/bike trail and had talked to them about a piece of land they still owned back there.

Speaking of Schlumberger, I noticed a Variance Request sign with their name on it last week as I pulled out of Guy's Meat Market onto Yellowstone. I believe the subdivision name was Schlumberger 2 or something to that effect. Directly across Yellowstone from the backside of Guy's, between Ardmore and OST. Next to the newish church.

Like I said, I think the subdivision name shown on the sign was Schlumberger, doesn't necessarily indicate that it's Schlumberger's land. Did the offices along Yellowstone there used to be Schlumberger's? I believe there is at least one geotechnical engineer occupying the offices now.

Edited by Original Timmy Chan's
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  • 3 months later...
mckee and kamrath

Boy, sure can tell it's the same architects that designed the Pasadena Bank Bldg.

Not sure why everyone is surprised that this building is still standing...I guess folks in Houston are always surprised to see attractive, somewhat historic buildings untouched by a wrecking ball.
What a quote...so true TimmyChan.
Old stomping grounds, we used to try to catch the live really big goldfish they had swimming around in the front foyer as you entered the offices. As soon as the secretary would notice us we would run away.Probably saw us on cameras and just laughed

Boy - Vertigo, you were having fun, causing trouble everywhere...in the East End... :lol::lol:

My dad also jumped on trains to go to baseball practice,and games. Also swam in the train underpasses when they flooded, around wayside.

Edited by NenaE
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:lol::lol:

My dad also jumped on trains to go to baseball practice,and games. Also swam in the train underpasses when they flooded, around wayside.

That other underpass directly in front of Schlumberger under the RR tracks was made around 1974-75. Imagine what hell it was like before it was made? When 1st made and unfinished it would fill all the way to the top! I mean to the bottom of that overpass! I recall we placed old wooden pallets and tryed to paddle across like idiots!

Never imagined one fateful and sad day people would actually drown down there! (That mom and her daughter about a year ago). The underpass was simply badly made with tiny gutters and always clogged up. Very DIM lighting at night. It was a tragedy in the making and was bound to happen.

These RR tracks have always been the scenes of major tragedies for children and still nothing gets done. We knew a kid on next block that lost a foot and another one that got an arm severed. The nabe was still very diverse at that time. Kids would always shoot birds under that overpass. I always was fearfull because wino's were always lurking in the vicinity of these RR tracks. :o

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The underpass drownings & train accidents (grew up hearing those) are really sad...no wonder dad was always so overprotective of us.

Old maps show Slaughterpen Bayou listed ahead of where Brays Bayou runs thru Wortham Golf Course. Maybe that has to do with this topics discussions, above.

Hopefully, UH can eventually buy this property.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I recently toured and photographed the building complex for a film shoot. Lots of empty mid-century wood panel/green shag rug offices - and lots of spacious warehouses. Many of the warehouses were used to repair oil field trucks. Has a military base feel. My tour guide showed me some fifties vintage air raid sirens he found and old telephones. Very cool place. I can post a link if anyones interested.

post-2389-1220632373_thumb.jpg

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Wow, I didn't know the facility was vacant. It looks kind of creepy in its empty state, but would make a great set for a movie. I though UH was using the buildings for additional office space?

What the heck are those giant bowl-like things in the restroom, and why are there so many benches in the restroom?!

Edited by Dan the Man
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What the heck are those giant bowl-like things in the restroom,

Sinks for handwashing. You step on the black foot bar near the floor and water comes out in an arc from several holes just above the basin. I worked in a printing plant when I was young that had those. Several people could wash their hands at one time.

Sink.jpg

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Paul Revere Middle school had half round sinks like those, but you had to push the spring loaded button and they ran for a short period of time so kids could not overflow them :o:lol: .....they kind of sucked

the benches are probably for people changing out of work coveralls into the civies before going home so they do not coat the interior of their car with oily crap

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When I worked at Hughes Tool as a Summer job in 1979, we had the same sort of hand washing facilities. Worked really well. That was at teh HTC plant on Polk. Cool buildings built during WWII. No steel in the structure, but lots of wood. The floors were wood blocks. Worked pretty well, although some areas were starting to get torn up. Way more comfortable than standing on concrete.

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Kinda reminds me of the Shell Research facility on Holcombe that will be put out to pasture in the near future. Great old buildings that have used up their usefulness according to higher ups and/or financial strategists. Oh I forgot that's just the norm :(

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Wow, thanks for posting those "inside the gate" shots, svensson. Can't get over how it's been maintained, outside landscaping. Sure the office bldg. has some issues. Those interior design shots are great, color schemes and all. The 1950's Sears bldg. in Pasadena had those same pink/tan bricks & stalls in the women's bathrooms.

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It's immaculately clean in there. My theory is that they're hoping to lease to another oil & gas outfit. I saw students milling around but not much other activity. The guy at the guard shack had been there since the early '60s.

Sad to hear that the Shell facility on Holcombe is going away. I'd love to photograph it before the wrecking ball arrives but it takes an act of congress to get into active petro facilities unless you are working directly for them.

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I had also heard at one time that the land was offered to HCC. I'm suprised it's still standing and that nothing has been done to the property.

I cannot speak for the back side of the property but the front main building is currently being used and renovated by the Houston area Gulf Coast Head start program as well as several similar agencies.

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Sinks for handwashing. You step on the black foot bar near the floor and water comes out in an arc from several holes just above the basin. I worked in a printing plant when I was young that had those. Several people could wash their hands at one time.

Sink.jpg

There were several of these kinds used at the old Stewart & Stevenson facility on Harrisburg at least around 1981-82. Every break and lunch time every one walk up to washed up and then time to eat! Regimentation & military-like it seemed, but it was the norm. Most of the guys were always covered in grease from head to toe. In the middle there was a soap white powder dispensed.

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  • 4 months later...

I love this building! It was always a landmark on the way to my grandma's house or if we were coming home from a trip. I went there once with my dad for something, but I don't know what it was--I was only about three or so.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This was just posted on the Daily Cougar..

"The UH-led Lone Star Wind Alliance is a cooperative partnership between corporations, such as the Houston Advanced Research Center, British Petroleum, Huntsman and Shell Wind, and several universities, including the University of Texas-Austin, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The goal of this partnership is to research wind energy, train faculty and develop undergraduate research, Birx said.

Another major step was the purchase of an industrial research facility. Schlumberger Complex, a 550-acre complex, will serve as the future site of the UH Energy Research Park, Provost John Antel said.

"We are going to extend (Schlumberger) buildings 4 and 7, both about 500,000 square feet, and extending Wheeler (from Schlumberger) to the campus to meet the Energy Park," Antel said.

The Energy Research Park will add more facilities and space for the researchers to make innovations or improve on different ideas. Space is a real problem at UH, and even if researchers get funding to build out, there is nowhere to build out to, Khator said.

"The Energy Research Center gives academia, industry and community a chance to come together," Khator said. "

http://thedailycougar.com/uh_to_seek_corpo...nsors-1.1331939

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This was just posted on the Daily Cougar..

"The UH-led Lone Star Wind Alliance is a cooperative partnership between corporations, such as the Houston Advanced Research Center, British Petroleum, Huntsman and Shell Wind, and several universities, including the University of Texas-Austin, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The goal of this partnership is to research wind energy, train faculty and develop undergraduate research, Birx said.

Another major step was the purchase of an industrial research facility. Schlumberger Complex, a 550-acre complex, will serve as the future site of the UH Energy Research Park, Provost John Antel said.

"We are going to extend (Schlumberger) buildings 4 and 7, both about 500,000 square feet, and extending Wheeler (from Schlumberger) to the campus to meet the Energy Park," Antel said.

The Energy Research Park will add more facilities and space for the researchers to make innovations or improve on different ideas. Space is a real problem at UH, and even if researchers get funding to build out, there is nowhere to build out to, Khator said.

"The Energy Research Center gives academia, industry and community a chance to come together," Khator said. "

http://thedailycougar.com/uh_to_seek_corpo...nsors-1.1331939

That's great news, as long as they have respect for the old girl...and don't change her too much, or shall I say, "bring the property up to code or make it usable" with respect to the original design. What a great research subject, as well.

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  • The title was changed to Schlumberger Old Building At 5000 Gulf Freeway

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