Hines announces plans for premier office tower in downtown Houston (US)

The Houston office of Hines has announced plans to develop MainPlace, a new 46-story, one-million ft² office tower in downtown Houston at 811 Main Street. Construction activities by the general contractor, D.E. Harvey Builders, will commence immediately with the first tenants occupying the building in late 2010. The project will be a classic urban infill development, replacing one of the most blighted blocks in downtown with a signature high-rise office building that will spur redevelopment for blocks around and re-define the epicenter of downtown.

The MainPlace office tower.

"Designing and building structures that are more efficient and self-sustaining make good business sense and will help the sustainability of our environment," said Mayor Bill White. "It's good to see Hines, with its strong Houston roots, setting the pace by building the first LEED-Silver skyscraper in our downtown district."

Jon Pickard, AIA, of Pickard Chilton, the building's architect, notes, "Our design for MainPlace acknowledges the contemporary tradition of the Houston skyscraper while keeping with the historical tradition of Main Street's classic architecture."

MainPlace will be situated on Main Street on the block bordered by Fannin, Rusk and Walker streets, across from the 1929 Gulf Building (now the JPMorgan Chase building). MainPlace tenants will enjoy easy access to Houston's mass transit system, including Metro's light rail system on Main Street, and being located within four blocks of every major downtown attraction.

MainPlace will also continue Hines' ongoing commitment to the environment and leadership in sustainable (or 'green') building design by being pre-certified at the silver level by the U.S. Green building Council. In fact, Hines will develop the project through its Hines CalPERS Green (HCG) fund, a new fund that focuses exclusively on developing sustainable office buildings throughout the United States certifiable through the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Core and Shell (LEED-CS) program.

Designed by the nationally recognized architectural firm of Pickard Chilton, MainPlace will be clad in horizontal sunshades of glass and aluminum that will wrap around the building's curved north and south façades. The west façade will be shaded from the low-glancing evening sunlight by vertical glass fins, which will soar 630 feet from Main Street's sidewalk level to the crown of the tower. A signature feature of the tower will be a dramatic 39th floor sky garden recessed into the building's form that reveals planted terraces and a five-story crystalline atrium. The sky garden will provide a meeting place during the day and define the tower on the night skyline with its glow.

A grand lobby with atrium located directly off of Main Street will offer a connection to Houston's underground pedestrian tunnel system, linking MainPlace to office buildings, hotels and retail centers.

MainPlace will contain floor-to-ceiling windows that will maximize natural light in tenant spaces, as well as offering panoramic views of downtown to the south and west, and uninterrupted views to the east. Notched corners in the buildings structure will allow for eight corner offices per floor, as well as an abundance of

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