ChevronTexaco will buy that grand monument of riches-to-rags excess, the new Enron building. They’ll move some 500 non-Houstonians (from New Orleans, Midland, and San Ramon) into it, as well as employees from their other downtown locations.
A couple of points of interest to me:
1. The picture of the building is taken from Smith Street, even though the official address of the tower is 1500 Louisiana Street. The circular walkway that you see connects it to the original Enron building, the one that had the crooked E in front of it, at 1400 Smith. That building was put up for sale in August.
2. The new building was bought by Intell Management for $102 million in 2002. The story doesn’t mention a price tag, but I’d bet Intell did not make any money off this sale.
3. The two buildings that ChevronTexaco own downtown, which will be sold off as part of this deal, are the Chevron Tower near Two Houston Center and the downtown mall, and the architecturally interesting Texaco Heritage Plaza, which is about a mile west of the Chevron Tower. I’ve had the opportunity to visit each building as part of my job. THP has some excellent views out its west-facing windows. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I wish there were some more observation decks in a couple of our downtown office buildings. I’m pleased to note that there is at least one, which I need to check out one of these days.
UPDATE: Here’s the full story from today’s front page, which among other thing tells me that Texaco Heritage Plaza is not owned by ChevronTexaco. Oops. Still no word on the purchase price, but we do have this tidbit:
The investors who bought it for $102 million at a bankruptcy auction, New York-based Intell Management & Investment Co., tried to distance the building from its history by calling it 1500 Louisiana, but it still was commonly called the Enron Building.
The sale price was not disclosed, but Intell President Gary Barnett said in a release, “Kudos to them for acquiring a trophy building at a fraction of its cost.”
At the time of the Intell purchase, many said $102 million was less than half of what it would cost Enron to complete the unfinished tower.
ChevronTexaco also will get a break from the city: It will pay taxes on the building’s $80 million base value, the mayor said. The company is expected to add $45 million in improvements.
Make of that what you will. The story also notes that while Intell tried to call this the “1500 Louisiana building”, everyone still calls it “the Enron building”. Get used to it, ChevronTexaco – I still call our city’s tallest structure “the Transco Tower”, and you’ll never hear me utter the words “Reliant Astrodome”.