A boutique office building that is pre-certified for LEED Gold, may soon be rising in Houston’s tony River Oaks neighborhood. Site work is currently underway for a 223-foot-tall, 17-story tower that will be located at 2229 San Felipe.
Designed by local architect Ziegler Cooper Architects, the boutique office building is intended for small scale tenants, according to Hines, the project’s development manager. While it is much smaller than the types of offices typical to downtown or in the Galleria submarket, the owners plan to offer the same level and quality of management services.
The building’s office space will be marketed to users such as family investment offices, wealth managers, private equity firms, and service providers to residents in the nearby area. Demand already exists for the space. Hines says there are over 100,000 square feet of proposals issued to interested parties, even though the project has not been advertised.
The project has not been without opposition. A River Oaks-area group has been petioning Hines to build a smaller residential building on the site. They have gone so far as to plaster the neighborhood with “Stop San Felipe Skyscraper” lawn signs and commissioned their own traffic study, which the city decided did not contain enough evidence to be considered.
Although there is no maximum building height limitation on the site, Hines prefers to keep the building at a similar height to the nearby River Oaks Bank Building. 2229 San Felipe will have 8 levels of parking garage with 400 spaces and 9 levels of office with approximately 167,000 square feet. The floor plates are 18,500 square-feet each.
2229 San Felipe is located on San Felipe next door to an office building, and the frontage of San Felipe between Kirby and Shepherd is almost entirely commercial office, retail and multi-family uses. Additionally, to the south along Welch, there are office buildings and apartments. The area south of San Felipe between Shepherd and Kirby is best described as mixed-use with businesses ranging from used car lots to art galleries to different types of residential dwellings.
Though Houston’s development is governed by codes that address how property can be subdivided, the codes do not address land use. Many similar small towers are scattered throughout the city, including buildings near neighborhoods like Tanglewood and Memorial.
The City of Houston has provided capacity letters certifying that the necessary utilities are available. On site detention has been designed under the building to collect rainwater from the site and detain the water until it can be released into the storm water system.
The group fighting the office building have said they plan to file a lawsuit if Hines moves forward with the project. Meanwhile, workers continue site work and the developer says construction is expected to be completed by mid-2015.