If you haven't looked at the real estate market in Houston, you're missing a show. Not only are home sales through the roof -- prices and number of sales -- but rent is going up at a dramatic rate and office lease space is disappearing. Chevron, which employs 9,000 people in Houston, has decided that if you can't buy it, build it.
Their new 50-story, 1.7 million square foot office tower will go up at 1600 Louisiana at Pease adjacent to their other buildings also on Louisiana, and replacing what was the site of the old YMCA building. The new Tellepsen Family YMCA opened three years ago two blocks south on Pease.
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With Exxon moving out of downtown and the former Foley's/Macy's building vacated, there had been concerns that downtown would begin to regress to where it was before so much renovation and new growth began. It could be argued that the changes began with Minute Maid Park, which opened in 2000 amid cries that no one would go to a ball game in downtown Houston. Of course, no one goes now, but that's not the fault of the stadium.
"This announcement underscores Chevron's long-term commitment to Houston and its role as the epicenter of the global energy industry," said Bereket Haregot, president of Chevron's Business and Real Estate Services division, in a press release. "Houston plays a vital and growing role in Chevron's global business. The new building and expanded urban campus will provide a first-rate work environment for our employees and help us remain the employer of choice."
This is a fairly big deal for a city that is already experiencing a pretty good boom in residential and commercial construction, and yet another example that Houston's economy is one of the strongest in the country.
Groundbreaking is expected next year, with completion in 2016.