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Urban Land Institute Unveils Vision for NRG Astrodome

27 Mar 2015, 4:13 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

The Houston Astrodome

The future of Houston’s NRG Astrodome remains unclear, but strides are being made toward the repositioning the stadium as a multi-use park.  The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released a report that argues for the conversion to enhance the quality of life for residents and serve as a tourist attraction.

Dubbed The Astrodome. Harris County Texas: A Vision for a Repurposed Icon, the report’s recommendations are as follows:

  • To recognize the historic importance of the Astrodome and to create a vision that rehabilitates the dome and NRG Park.
  • To redevelop the Astrodome as a multi-use facility.
  • To increase parking by 1,500 additional spaces.
  • To create a new, multi-purpose ground floor.
  • To create a new outdoor public space or a live oak allée from the light-rail station to the east entrance of the stadium.
  • To develop outdoor covered pavilions along the allée.

ULI’s report also cautioned about the complexity of such a conversion and advised Harris County to adopt “a framework of guiding principles” that would ensure a successful conversion. The principles emphasize that the Astrodome should be rehabilitated as a space accessible by bike, car and train; that the dome’s historic and architectural importance should be actively respected; and that, upon completion, the dome should be a space for arts, education, technology, innovation and history.

As Commercial Property Executive reported in August 2014, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett made a similar proposal—to reposition the dome as the world’s largest indoor park and recreation center. “Rather than try to convert the Dome into something it was never intended to be, I think it is time to look back to the original vision of Judge Hofheinz,” Emmett said last year. “That vision was to provide a place for traditional outdoor activities in a climate-controlled space. A space like none other in the world.”

Image courtesy of Randall Pugh via Flickr.

Hess Tower Designated a BOMA 360 Performance Building

6 Mar 2015, 6:13 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Hess Tower

The Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) recently designated the Hess Tower in Houston as a BOMA 360 Performance Building, according to an official CBRE press statement. The designation recognizes the industry’s best practices in building operations and management.

The 29-story tower was developed by Trammell Crow Co. with the help of architectural firm Gensler and has been under CBRE’s management since late 2011. The tower is LEED Platinum certified and has received Energy Star designations for the past two years.

Amenities include bike storage, two electric vehicle-charging stations available for employees free of charge and a full-service fitness center. Other distinguishing design elements are the tower’s plaza, the porte cochere entrance, landscaping and the tower’s cascading water elements.

The building received its designation for the implementation of sustainable features such as the use of energy recovery units, its green roof, and the use of a condensate recovery irrigation system and an automated daylighting system.

“We are proud to designate Hess Tower as a BOMA 360 Performance Building in recognition of the high standards the management team has achieved in every aspect of building operations and management,” said BOMA International Chair Joseph Markling, managing director at CBRE, in an official statement. “By achieving the BOMA 360 designation, the management of Hess Tower has demonstrated to their owners, tenants, prospective tenants and the community that this property is being managed to the highest standards of excellence.”

Image courtesy of CBRE 

Stream Realty Jumpstarts 2015 with Multiple Industrial Leases

26 Feb 2015, 9:10 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

The Hardy Distribution Center

Stream Realty Partners has had a very busy new year. In spite of the recent concerns regarding the energy industry, in the first 45 days of 2015, the Dallas-based company managed to execute more than 700,000 square feet of new industrial leases in Houston.

“Houston is a tale of two cities when it comes to our industrial market: One half of the market is tied to local distribution and the other half is tied to the more specialized, crane-served type facilities, which are geared more for oilfield services and heavy manufacturing companies. Stream’s fastball is the first subset, which we track at approximately 261 million square feet marketwide and a very healthy 4.8 precent vacant through the end of 2014,” said Matteson Hamilton, managing director of Stream Realty, in an official statement.

The completed deals are:

  • A 207,230-square-foot lease at 8520-B S. Sam Houston Parkway West in the Bayou Bend Business Park. Matteson Hamilton and Adam Jackson represented Stream and Thackeray Partners.
  • An 185,640-square-foot lease at 9401 Bay Area Blvd. in the Bay Area Business Park. Justin Robinson and Kyle Valentine represented Principal Financial Group.
  • A 171,000-square-foot lease at 113 Gillingham Lane in the Sugar Land Interchange Distribution Center. Cannon Green with Stream represented the tenant.
  • 143,690 square feet of space at 1521 Greens Road in The Hardy Distribution Center. Justin Robinson and Kyle Valentine represented Clarion Partners, while CBRE’s Ed Frantz represented the tenant.
  • A 50,372-square-foot lease at 13215 – 13249 North Promenade in the Freeport Business Center. Matteson Hamilton and Jeremy Lumbreras represented DRA Advisors. The tenant was represented by JLL’s Jarret Venghaus.
  • 47,430 square feet of space at 13721 S. Gessner in the Beltway Crossing Business Park. Justin Robinson and Michael Flowers represented IIT, while Caldwell Cos. represented the tenant.

Image courtesy of Stream Realty Partners

BHW Breaks Ground on Luxury Apartment Community in Lake Jackson

19 Feb 2015, 5:35 am

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

Plantation Park Apartments

Houston-based BHW recently broke ground on Plantation Park, a 238-unit luxury apartment community in Lake Jackson, Texas. The first phase of the Class A residential complex will be developed on a 27.9-acre site on Plantation Drive and is expected to span 16 acres. The remaining acreage might be used later on for a second phase of apartments, for pad sales or for other commercial projects.

According to the company’s website, Plantation Park will retain its park-like feel through extensive landscaping and open areas. Amenities include a fitness center, a resort-style pool, a walking trail, on-site management, nine- to 12-foot ceilings and a dog park. In addition, about 30 units will be available in single-story structures.

As Commercial Property Executive has reported, BHW was founded in 2012 by Martin Bronstein and Ralph Howard, also founders of global real estate advisor The Situs Cos., which was acquired by Helios AMC in 2011. Before its acquisition, Situs employed more than 400 professionals, evaluated over 30,000 assets in the U.S. and Europe, and advised on €60 billion of European commercial real estate debt.

Image courtesy of BHW via official website


BNY Subsidiary Exits Houston Market

12 Feb 2015, 9:25 pm

By Liviu Oltean, Associate Editor

CenterSquare Investment Management, the real asset investment subsidiary of BNY Mellon, announced its exit from the Houston real estate market with the sale of 1301 Fannin St. and the Villas at Hermann Park.  The two assets were acquired through Urdang Value-Added Fund II (UVAF II), a $463 million value-added closed-end fund.

1301 Fannin St. is a 784,000-square-foot mixed-use office tower and data center located in Houston’s CBD. It was acquired in 2007 in joint venture with Griffin Partners and, along with the Villas at Hermann Park, represented one of UVAF II’s largest investments. Throughout CenterSquare’s eight-year hold period, the common areas and infrastructure were upgraded, achieving net operating income growth of 71.6 percent.

Located in Houston’s renowned Texas Medical Center, the Villas at Hermann Park were purchased in joint venture with Austin-based Falcon Southwest Cos. in 2011. Upgrades to the common areas and apartment interiors under CenterSquare’s ownership led to NOI growth of 20.5 percent.

CenterSquare is not crossing Houston off its list, however. “While we are out of Houston right now, CenterSquare plans to monitor potential new value-add investment opportunities in Houston next year as a robust development pipeline of new product converges with the approaching economic slowdown resulting from lower oil prices,” said David Rabin, managing director of private real estate, in an official statement.

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