Higher and Higher

Galleria area skyline is looking up: Another new office tower is on its way

Galleria area skyline looking up: Another new office tower on the way

BHP Billiton Tower Four Oaks Place
Rendering of BHP Billiton Tower at Four Oaks Place is at center of this photo.  Rendering courtesy of Pickard Chilton
BHP Billiton Tower Four Oaks Place skybridge
A skybridge will connect the new skyscraper to other nearby buildings. Rendering courtesy of Pickard Chilton
BHP Billiton Tower Four Oaks Place
BHP Billiton Tower Four Oaks Place skybridge

The Uptown/Galleria area is getting another major office tower – a 30-story skyscraper that will make another big splash on the neighborhood’s skyline. Construction started Monday on the 600,000 square-foot building which is fully leased by BHP Billiton, a mining and petroleum giant based in Melbourne, Australia.

The skyline of the Galleria area had been mostly unchanged by new office buildings for the last three decades or so. Since the 64-story Williams Tower (the building formerly known as Transco) was completed in 1983, developers let the Uptown/Galleria go fallow. No new office buildings were constructed for almost three decades, which is a rarity given Houston history as a hot market for new development.

Then a couple of years ago Houston’s economy got hot and developers recognized the Galleria area was a great place to build an office tower. The highly vaunted BBVA Compass Plaza was started, and then Skanska constructed a 20-story tower near the Water Wall. (The brand new Skanska building just sold for $112 million, by the way.)

The third new skyscraper for Uptown, called BHP Billiton Tower, will be located on Post Oak Boulevard, just north of San Felipe, in the Four Oaks Place development. A 24-Hour Fitness center that used to be there was demolished.

The new tower is being developed by Transwestern, a major Houston real estate development and leasing firm, and the TIAA-CREF financial services company. The new building is expected be completed in 2016.

The design architect is Pickard Chilton Associates of New Haven, Conn., and the architect of record is Kendall Heaton Associates of Houston.

BHP Billiton already occupies all of an adjacent building at 1360 Post Oak Boulevard. The new BHP Billiton Tower and the 1360 Post Oak Boulevard tower will be connected by a glass skybridge.