Texas Tower offers the future of office space in downtown Houston

Long before the COVID pandemic changed how we think about the workplace, commercial developers were already busy thinking about how to make improvements. While Houston, Dallas, and Austin are among the nation's back-to-work leaders, the Bayou City still leads big cities with vacant office space.

It means there's a lot of effort needed to create space where businesses want to work, and one of downtown Houston's newest office towers is putting some of those ideas into action.

Walking into the Texas Town, in downtown's northwest corner, the feel of a comfortable and inviting hotel lobby is intentional. With a million square feet, spread over 47 floors, the building is a reimagination of what office space should be.

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John Mooz, who is the Senior Managing Director for developer Hines, says the demand for change has been building momentum for 20 years. It includes the calming presence of on-site green spaces, high above the streets, that provide refuge, to abundant open spaces that encourage workers to find a place that inspires, in the moment, or to meet for an impromptu consultation.

"That's precisely what's going on here," says Mooz, "The people are here; they're getting the work done; they're collaborating; they're enjoying something beyond just sitting at their individual desk."

The Hines world headquarters, which takes up nearly a fifth of the building's space, is the showplace for flexible workspaces and innovative common areas. Offices are moved to the interior, opening up to naturally lit spaces; open stairwells connect the floors visually; recreational, health, and wellness services are provided to make the workday more convenient.


it's all part of a growing demand to encourage people back to the workplace. "We really try to think about the individual users, and what will add the most value to them," says Hines Sr. VP of Global Client Strategy Whitney Burns, "Not from just a work-perspective, but a life-perspective as well." It is a balance that developers say has become an inescapable part of the office workplace. "What I think Covid has done is confirm a lot of those concepts, creating more 'we' space and less 'me' space in the work environment," says Mooz.

As for the extensive Houston office space that is 'not' being used, Mooz thinks there's a lot of inventory that's new-enough to meet these updated needs, while other spaces will struggle to find tenants who are demanding this new generation of amenities