Skanska has celebrated the topping out of 1550 on the Green, a 28-story, 375,000-square-foot Class A office tower in Houston’s Discovery Green. Company officials as well as leaders from the anchor tenant, global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, marked this significant milestone on Thursday, Feb. 16.
Skanska broke ground on the downtown tower in January 2021, when it signed Norton Rose Fulbright to a 15-year lease agreement for 32 percent of the office building’s space and naming rights. The firm, which has more than 175 lawyers in its Houston office, expects to relocate to 1550 on the Green in 2024. The building is slated for delivery later this year.
The project, adjacent to the Discovery Green urban park, will be part of a three-block, master-planned district by Skanska. It is designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to achieve LEED Platinum certification and is the internationally renowned firm’s first project in Texas. BIG’s design focuses on sustainability and tenant wellness, also a hallmark of Skanska’s tenant-first approach.
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The project, located at 1550 Lamar St., will have 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space with extra-wide pedestrian zones under a canopy of trees that creates an initial connection with nature that is carried throughout the building. Above the retail space, a dramatic lobby for the office tenants will have touchless turnstiles, app-based guest registration and destination dispatch elevators that create seamless movements throughout the building.
Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska USA Commercial Development’s Houston market, said the building has been designed with sustainability at its core. He said they are continuing the remaining parts of the construction process and expect to begin welcoming tenants and visitors to the building later this year.
Tenants will also have access to a fitness center and exclusive outdoor terraces on floors 12 and 20. An event space with an outdoor terrace will be located on level 28. Other features will include an eight-level parking garage with natural ventilation, 10-foot to 12-foot ceilings with floor-to-ceiling vision glass and floorplates that will range from 16,000 to 26,000 square feet.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, an Austin, Texas-based architecture and design firm, designed the interior amenity spaces.
Kevin O’Gorman, Houston office Partner-in-Chief for Norton Rose Fulbright, said in a prepared statement the firm wanted a vibrant downtown location reflective of Houston’s diversity and the company’s commitment to sustainability. He said the Skanska tower at Discovery Green checked all those boxes, adding they found the perfect building for their employees in an ideal location.
Skanska has built and restored local landmarks in Houston for decades ranging from historic renovations like San Jacinto Memorial Building on the Houston Community College campus, to the new construction of world-class sports facilities like NRG stadium and the expansion of LBJ General Hospital’s emergency department. The firm’s Houston portfolio spans from the Energy Corridor through Uptown and into the Central Business District. Skanska has delivered more than 1.8 million square feet of Class A office space in the city including 3009 Post Oak Blvd. and Bank of America Tower, the first LEED v4 Platinum Core & Shell project in the U.S. Skanska sold its 90 percent interest in the 780,000-square-foot office building to an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners in December 2019 for $373 million.
Last January, Skanska sold West Memorial Place I and II, a two-building, 715,900-square-foot office campus in the Energy Corridor submarket for about $147 million to a joint venture led by Houston-based Fuller Realty. It was the first time the 12- and 14-story Class A buildings had traded since they were completed in 2016.