Real Estate

One Done, Two To Go As ‘Reimagining Allen Center’ Starts Next Renovation Phase

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More open spaces, natural light and amenities characterize Phase II’s scope, affecting Allen Center Two (on left in site plan rendering) and Allen Center Three.Courtesy of Brookfield Properties

When built nearly a half century ago, Allen Center’s trio of office towers reached for the sky on a city block of downtown Houston’s west side. Renovations today are reimagining the complex’s form and function at street level as part of a multi-phased project.

Brookfield Properties recently announced Phase II plans  and an April start to transform the office environment and experience at 36-story Two Allen Center (1977, renovated in 1992) and 50-story Three Allen Center (1980).

In 2017, the inaugural project, affecting One Allen Center, added a modern-minded two-story glass façade to the 1972-built tower and re-activated a spacious (but-berm-hidden) courtyard as The Acre, a plaza for tenants and urban park for passersby, with seating and programming.

Phase I improvements have been estimated at $48.5 million. The company declined to share the upcoming project’s budget.

The scope for Two Allen Center includes a new, two-story lobby, second-floor outdoor terrace with view of The Acre and updated retail bays. In neighboring Three Allen Center, the redesign affects the lobby and adds shower and locker facilities. A new sky bridge will link the two towers.

A two-story lobby with outdoor terrace, updated retail bays are in the works for Two Allen Center, plus a sky bridge to Three Allen Center.Courtesy of Brookfield Properties

Brookfield’s Travis Overall, executive vice president and head of the Texas region, called the campus changes “holistic” and “evolving the office experience” in the announcement, which cites the creation of open areas – inside and out, more natural light in the lobby areas and new retail features, including a “glass box restaurant” with chef partner Troy Guard.

Allen Center’s transformation “has always been contemplated as a multi-phase project,” Overall said in a follow-up exchange.

He believes the success of the initial project, including the Acre “has shown us how impactful the improvements are and provided us with even more confidence to proceed with the improvements to Two and Three Allen Center.”

When completed, slated for late 2020, the three-tower campus will encompass not just 3.2 square feet of office space, but an assortment of new restaurant and retail options, upgraded lobbies, tenant lounges and collaborative spaces and the Acre, Overall said.

The project team includes architects Morrison Dilworth + Walls and PDR, with construction contractors Tellepsen.

Allen Center was named for Houston’s founding brothers, John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen of New York, whose wife, Charlotte Baldwin Allen, is believed to have bankrolled the 1837 deal with her inheritance, historical accounts indicate.

Brookfield has a long history of investing in downtown Houston and it owns several properties, including Allen Center, nearby Heritage Plaza, 1600 Smith, Total Plaza and Houston Center. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to reimagine Houston Center, located on 9.2 acres east of Main Street and near Discovery Green, a dynamic urban park with programming attracting a lively pedestrian-focused presence.

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