Brookfield to Redevelop 4.2 MSF Houston Center

The company, which acquired the four-building office campus for $875 million in late 2017, plans to launch a major upgrade of the property next month.

Brookfield Properties recently revealed that it will submit Houston Center, a 4.2 million-square-foot office complex in Houston, to a major redevelopment process. The news comes roughly one year after the company acquired Houston Center for $875 million in one of the city’s largest office transactions ever.

“Brookfield Properties’ approach is predicated on our distinctive placemaking vision creating successful mixed-use environments offering experiential destinations for today’s office worker, consumers, and visitors alike,” Travis Overall, executive vice president & head of the Texas Region for Brookfield Properties, said in a prepared statement. “Together with our design teams at  Gensler and Clark Condon, Houston Center will be a best-in-class destination.”

Houston Center is situated on 9.2 acres spanning five blocks and holds the distinction of being the largest property by square footage in Houston’s urban core. Developed between 1975 and 1983, the LEED Gold-certified campus is currently 70 percent leased and encompasses four buildings, the largest of which is the 1.2 million-square-foot Fulbright Tower. LyondellBasell Tower and 2 Houston Center encompass roughly 1 million square feet each. The 870,000-square-foot 4 Houston Center completes the group, featuring 674,000 square feet of office space above the 196,000-square-foot The Shops at Houston Center restaurant and retail segment.

Downtown Houston’s diversified economy and attractive business climate continue to attract new companies to the city’s urban core. As the demand for Class A office space increases, we aim to meet the needs of existing and incoming office users by investing in our portfolio,” Overall told Commercial Property Executive. “Houston Center is committed to being a key contributor to the ongoing resurgence of the area.”

The renovation project, conceived to create a more welcoming and connected experience, centers on the reinvention of the central plaza and green space to create a fluid link to street-level and neighboring attractions. The re-envisioned plaza will include such features as a digital water wall, flexible entertainment space and a stair connection to landscaped terraces.

At 2 Houston, the lobby will be comprehensively renovated and enhanced with the addition of a two-story, glass facade. LyondellBasell’s lobby will also be upgraded with new conferencing venues and co-working spaces. The transformation of Houston Center will also yield reclad sky bridges—providing a connection to The Shops—as well as a state-of-the-art fitness facility and a revamped retail and dining experience.

Brookfield has tapped Harvey Builders to serve as general contractor on the project, which is scheduled to get underway in February 2019.

Timely undertaking

Houston Center is already home to a list of notable occupants, including chemical and plastics company LyondellBasell and law firm Haynes and Boone, which signed an approximately 72,900-square-foot lease renewal at LyondellBasell Tower in 2018. The Houston Center renovation project will help reel in even more tenants seeking the type of premier office environment and coveted mixed-use offerings that attract and retain talent. Such projects are growing increasingly desirable in Houston. 

“Flight to quality persists in the major submarkets. Class A properties recently delivered or renovated with modern amenities continue to outperform their less modern peers with higher occupancy and rental rates,” according to a third-quarter 2018 report by CBRE.

Transwestern is currently handling leasing at Houston Center. Brookfield expects to conclude the redevelopment project in late 2020.

Houston is developing a national reputation as a city that balances a lower cost of living with a strong focus on quality of life through the development of public spaces. We’re optimistic about the continued demand for Class A office space,” Overall told CPE.

Images courtesy of Brookfield Properties

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