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Old Posted May 16, 2013, 7:57 PM
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Lightbulb HOUSTON | Capitol Tower | 579 FT / 167 M | 35 FLOORS




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Splashy plans emerge for Houston Club revitalization

The owner of the Houston Club building is planning to replace the decades-old structure with a soaring glass and stone office tower that would stand atop a sleek tunnel- level lobby visible to pedestrians on the streets above it.

The space, designed to be a bright and inviting gathering spot, would be connected to the building's first floor by a wide interior staircase flanked by trees and other greenery.

"Not unlike the Spanish Steps in Rome, it will be a great meeting place," said Jim Furr, managing principal of Gensler, the architecture firm that designed the 34-story tower.

The developer, Skanska USA Commercial Development, unveiled renderings of the proposed building to the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday.

The new tower would mark a significant transformation of the site, which now contains an empty 18-story office building with two smaller adjacent structures.

It would also address a downtown issue, recently highlighted by Mayor Annise Parker, of improv­ing connections between the city's streets and its tunnels.

"There has to be better, more visible open connectors between what happens at the street and what happens in the underground," Parker said to a group of downtown property owners earlier this month.

The new building, currently referred to as Capitol Tower, would contain 700,000 square feet and was designed to meet high standards of environmental sustainability.

Its exterior would feature a "light box" effect, where a portion of the building would glow at night and have a unique reflection during the day.

The north side of the building would offer shade from the sun, which could make the ground level attractive to a restaurant with an outdoor patio.

The tower is still in the planning stages. Skanska said construction likely would not start before a tenant is found for a significant portion of the space.

Now that the last of the Houston Club building's tenants have moved out, interior abatement and other demolition work are about to start in preparation for demolition. Instead of being imploded, the building will be dismantled floor by floor, similar to the relatively recent deconstruction of an old Sheraton hotel on Polk in the southern portion of downtown.

Skanska plans to salvage the Houston Club building's steel and concrete and is hoping to reuse some of the old marble and stone in the new tower.

Michael Mair, executive vice president and regional manager of Skanska USA Commercial Development, said the company evaluated the building's historical significance when it considered taking on the project.

"It does not sit in a historic district. It's not listed on a registry, nor has it been nominated to be on a registry," Mair said. "The building is vintage, but only to 1955."

As it exists, he said, the building is "functionally obsolete." It has shallow floor-to-ceiling heights, small windows and outdated mechanical systems. "The building itself doesn't offer an architectural advantage like, say Esperson or 712 Main," Mair said.

Other big changes are a part of the redevelopment plan.

The pocket park on the northwest corner of the block would go away as the new building and parking garage would encompass the entire block, which is bounded by Capitol, Rusk, Milam and Travis. The park property is owned by Skanska.

The entrance of the building, too, would change from Rusk Street to Capitol, reflecting the building's proposed new name. That name, however, could well change once a major tenant signs up for space.

The entrance would face the new light rail line and the plaza outside the JPMorgan Chase building.

"Our tenants will have unobstructed views to the north," Mair said, noting that the open space in front of the Chase Tower and the nearby performing arts venues don't stand as tall as most downtown buildings. "It's a fabulous, unique site," he said.

Article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news...hp?cmpid=atfpm














Website Launched - http://capitoltowerhouston.com/

Last edited by Urbannizer; Jul 30, 2015 at 8:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 16, 2013, 8:54 PM
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"Planning stages" is developer-speak for "we're still awaiting a tenant".
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 4:59 PM
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That's a nice building.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 5:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
That's a nice building.
Reminds of Anadarko Tower II. Here's another rendering:

Last edited by Urbannizer; May 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 5:29 PM
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I'm having a hard time estimating what the height is. I would guess at least 400 feet.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 6:25 PM
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Really?! Demolishing that old beauty for a new tower? Why?! Isn't there hundreds of parking lots in the area they could build a new tower on?! Shame on Houston for letting that happen.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 7:49 PM
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The majority of the high rises that are going up in downtown or slated to are going up on empty lots. I believe the Houston Club building probably is past its prime and needed either major structural repairs, abatement, or a complete upgrade of everything to be viable. Thankfully there are great examples of historic buildings (WAY better than the Houston Club) that are being rehabbed (i.e. JW Marriott, Shell). This building isn't a loss IMO.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
I'm having a hard time estimating what the height is. I would guess at least 400 feet.
I would think at least 500 feet.

Indeed this is a beautiful structure.
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Old Posted May 31, 2013, 12:52 AM
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I wouldn't mind it if it were on vacant lot, but not a fan in this location for the following reasons;

1) I like the Houston Club Bldg. It isn't stellar, but Houston lacks buildings from this era and it's a nice break from the norm.

2) I think the Houston Club would have had nice potential as an apartment complex

3) Since it is a replacement, it should simply be better than a glass box + a large parking garage, especially since it'll block several angles of the Pennzoil Complex.

4) I find it underwhelming compared to the other downtown proposals circling the commercial real estate community. It's definitely behind Hines' 609 Main proposal, 5 Allen Center (still trying to push that one), and Linbeck's tower proposal for Market Square... especially since it's the only one requiring demolition.
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Old Posted May 31, 2013, 7:44 AM
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Man boxes have gotten so much better over the decades.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2013, 3:12 PM
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400 feet sounds too short, but 500 feet sounds too tall.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2013, 3:35 PM
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I'm going to guess closer to 500 than 400.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Figure that an average floor to floor height of 13 feet would make the building 440 feet tall overall. Without any sort of a crown.
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Old Posted Jul 8, 2013, 10:11 PM
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According to HAIFer 'Nate99', they're already starting to clear out the existing structure...

Quote:
Interior demolition is definitely going on. They are filling up and switching out dumpsters on the Capitol side with what looked like metal bits.


Many upper floor windows are open as well.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 5:17 PM
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Let's see - that's four office towers downtown that are in the works. Let's see if they all get out of the ground.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 8:52 PM
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A fence is now in place, but the rent-a-bike rack has to stay due to a 30-day notice requirement.

By Nate99 on HAIF
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2013, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toxteth o'grady View Post
Let's see - that's four office towers downtown that are in the works. Let's see if they all get out of the ground.
which four office towers would that be? Hines, Capital, Lindbeck/Stream, and 5 Allen Center? Chevron of course is a go, and Hines latest article was saying they would build to spec and go ahead without a tenant if need be, with construction starting the beginning of 2014. as for the other 3, i agree its a battle of who will sign a tenant first, though Capital seems pretty confident and 5AC was mentioned in a recent article as having intentions of signing a tenant in the next year and getting off the ground a few years after. maybe Houston really is getting that many relocations though and all of these towers will be needed in the near future?

http://www.chron.com/jobs/article/On...of-4339893.php


as for tearing down the Houston Club, its a shame, but the building is on extremely desirable land right in between the east-west rail lines, and just off of the Main Street line. the new Hines tower is about the only location better then that.
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2013, 8:00 PM
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I looked over the list of proposals (which now has 33 buildings on it). It includes 609 Main Street (Hines), 1600 Louisiana (Chevron), 5 Allen Center, International Center, 6 Houston Center, this one (Capitol Tower) and the Texaco Building redevelopment. That's downtown (and it doesn't include the hotels). There are two 30-story towers proposed for Post Oak, and there are a raft of other buildings out towards I-10 and Westchase. Apache, BHP Billiton, Hilcorp and Chevron are the big names among the prospective tenants, but I can imaginre others.
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2013, 2:21 PM
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A bit more about the building, and different options for it (I like facade #1).

















Page 41:
http://on-demand.gputechconf.com/sig...ent-Design.pdf
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Old Posted Aug 2, 2013, 2:48 PM
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Facade #3
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