remembering gerald d. hines

Houston commercial real estate legend Gerald D. Hines passes away at 95

Houston real estate legend Gerald D. Hines passes away at 95

Gerald D. Hines Pennzoil Place Houston
Hines at one of his signature structures, Pennzoil Place.  Photo by Annie Leibovitz

A commercial real estate titan who helped shape Houston’s skyline has passed away. Gerald D. Hines, founder and chairman of the globally renowned real estate firm, Hines, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, August 23, according to a statement from his son, Jeffrey C. Hines, who has been the firm’s president, and now assumes the role of chairman and CEO of Hines.

Gerald D. Hines had just celebrated his 95th birthday on August 15.

Hines is widely regarded and regularly honored as a leading visionary in the commercial real estate industry. He engineered Hines from an entrepreneurial startup in Houston in 1957 into an international powerhouse that has developed, owned, and managed some of the world’s most recognizable architectural landmarks across five continents.

The company boasts more than 4,800 employees and is active in 225 cities in 25 countries.

One of his inherent gifts, according to a family statement, was his ability to “enhance urban landscapes and add lasting value to communities through innovative design concepts, intelligent planning, unmatched efficiency, trendsetting features, and the highest possible standard of quality.”

The developer long held the belief that memorable design by prominent architects could garner commercial success. Thus, the roster of architects Hines worked with over his career around the world is a veritable who’s who. Throughout his career, Hines teamed with such renowned architects as: Lord Norman Foster; Bruce Graham and David M. Childs of SOM;  Gyo Obata; Philip Johnson and John Burgee (15 projects total); I.M. Pei and Harry N. Cobb; Cesar Pelli; Kevin Roche; Robert A.M. Stern; A. Eugene Kohn and William E. Pedersen; Charles W. Moore; Frank O. Gehry; Jon Pickard; and Jean Nouvel, among others.

The Hines firm has developed more than 907 projects around the world, including 100 buildings over 25 stories, and the tallest office towers in Texas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Italy.

A passionate fan of the Bayou City, Hines graced Houston’s built environment to prestigious art with sustainable function, then made his mark across the nation, establishing large local offices in major hubs, including New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Chicago. From 1996-2010, Hines made London his home base, having transferred day-to-day operations to his son, Jeff, who became the firm’s CEO and president in 1990.

While abroad, Hines expanded into major Western and Eastern European markets, securing a footprint that is still growing across the continent. The firm also entered into Asia in the mid 1990s, according to a press release.

Highlights of Hines work include Significant projects include 53rd at Third, known as the Lipstick Building, New York; 101 California, San Francisco; One Ninety One Peachtree, Atlanta; Three First National Plaza, Chicago; Five Hundred Boylston, Boston; DZ Bank, Berlin; Porta Nuova, Milan; and EDF Tower, Paris. In addition are Houston landmarks, One Shell Plaza; The Galleria; Pennzoil Place; Bank of America Plaza; JPMorgan Chase Tower, and Williams Tower.
“Beyond his significant, impactful career and his pioneering contributions to architecture, sustainability and the built environment, Dad felt his greatest achievement is the team of dedicated professionals who have, and will continue to, carry on his legacy of peerless quality, integrity and innovation,” stated Jeffrey C. Hines.

Hines graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and later received honorary doctorates from both Purdue and the University of Houston. He was the 2002 recipient of the Urban Land Institute’s Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development and is an honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

He counted among his proudest accomplishments the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston and the establishment of the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition.

Hines is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children, 15 grandchildren, and one great grandson. Hines will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony in Aspen, Colorado.

A celebration of his life will be held at a future date when it is safe to congregate, according to the family.