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January 4, 2010 

How did you spend your holidays? We’d love to run a few pictures of local real estate-types in exotic locales. You know, like Tulsa. Send photos of your vacationsstaycations, and other fun activities (with a description) for inclusion in Bisnow!

Hines’ SVP John Mooz admits construction in this economy might be against the recipe, but he says development at 1M SF, 46-story, MainPlace (811 Main downtown) is a great project that would work few places outside of Houston.

John showing us the model for the Pickard Chilton-designed building, which will feature a skygarden in that notch on the 38th floor, and 970k SF of rentable office space. Construction by D.E. Harvey Builders is set for completion Feb ’11 (but is ahead of schedule: they’re almost up to garden!) and major tenant KPMG will move into its 108k SF next spring. John tells us development has been incredibly smooth for an urban project because the players worked together on previous projects—eg, Hines has worked with architect John Pickard for 25 years on projects totaling over 5M SF.

The design process took 1.5 years and centered on representing the next generation of sustainable building. The LEED pre-certified facility recirculates air cleaned with an ultraviolet treatment and has 10’ ceilings that throw light deeper into the building than traditional 9’. Unique to MainPlace, and according to John its most sustainable element: sunshades built considering the orientation of the sun—horizontal sunshades on three sides of the building and vertical on the fourth. This setup reflects sunlight most efficiently and will cut down on AC costs in the summer.

The five-story atrium has an LED light shining on an etched-fret pattern on the windows, which will reflect light out to keep the skygarden cool and give the notch a lantern effect. John doesn’t just create sustainable buildings, he teaches architects to do the same; he’s a visiting professor at UH’s School of Architecture.


Bob Fretz Sr. and Jr

If you haven’t seen the AGC exhibit “Behind the Building: Houston Monuments and the People Who Built Them, 1923-2000,” go tonight: it closes tomorrow. At the Architecture Center (315 Capitol, near the Hobby Center), it features 15 significant Houston projects, including the Astrodome, Bank of America building, and Rice Stadium. Above, Bob Fretz Sr. and Jr. of Fretz Construction, GC for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Bob Jr. is the 3rd generation Fretz to be prez. Fretz was responsible for the original construction of the pavilion in 1990 and subsequent renovations and expansions. Fun fact: the tent over the stage is made from the same material as astronauts’ suits (fiberglass and Teflon). Sad news: Cynthia Woods Mitchell died last weekend at 87 years old.

the Kubins

Another group keeping it in the family: the Kubins, representing W. S. Bellows Construction, GC for the 570’ San Jacinto Monument. Tommy and Charlie are both VPs; Charlie has been with Bellows since 1955. Development for the monument was headed by FDR’s Commerce Secretary Jesse Jones (as is the case for oh-so-many key Houston buildings); he got funding from the government on the condition the obelisk be smaller than the Washington Monument. However, when it was completed in 1939, it beat the DC monument by 15’. (Oops!)  Innovation for this building: Bellows created a scaffold platform that didn’t have to be as tall as construction.


And we couldn’t resist sharing this neat sight at the Architecture Center. (BTW, if you can’t make it to the exhibit, you can visit http://behindthebuilding.org and still impress colleagues with your insider knowledge.)



Pointsmith, an ad/promotions firm, negotiated a move that will more than double its HQ. It bought 10 acres in PrimeWest Business Park north of I-10 for a 242k SF facility with office, warehouse, and distribution space. Situs owns and manages PrimeWest, which after this deal, has 33 acres still open for development. Pointsmith selected Urban Cos. to design and build the facility. It outgrew its current building on Brittmoore Park Dr after almost 10 years, and the company’s 100 employees should be able to move into their new place this summer. CushWake’s Jonathan Farris negotiated for Pointsmith, Situs’ Martin Bronstein and John Wall Jr. repped the sellers, and Don Weaver is representing The Urban Cos.

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