Chevron planning new downtown Houston tower

Chevron U.S.A. is planning to build a new downtown skyscraper for its growing Houston workforce.

The energy giant said this morning it will build a 50-story tower with 1.7 million square feet at 1600 Louisiana St. at Pease.

The building will add to Chevron’s existing downtown footprint, which includes 1500 Louisiana and 1400 Smith, the former Enron buildings.

The company said the buildings will comprise an “urban campus with indoor and outdoor common areas, enhanced dining facilities, a fitness center, training and conference facilities, and additional parking.”

“This announcement underscores Chevron’s long-term commitment to Houston and its role as the epicenter of the global energy industry,” Bereket Haregot, president of Chevron’s business and real estate services division said in a statement. “Houston plays a vital and growing role in Chevron’s global business. The new building and expanded urban campus will provide a first-rate work environment for our employees and help us remain the employer of choice.”

The headquarters of Chevron Corp., the parent company of Chevron U.S.A., will remain in California, where it has been located for more than 130 years.

The tower was designed by HOK. Groundbreaking is expected after the second quarter of next year, and occupancy is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Chevron employs about 9,000 employees and contractors in Houston, where nine of its businesses are headquartered. In addition to its downtown buildings, the company has locations in Bellaire and the Westchase District.

The tower project is set to reap a nice financial boost from state. Gov. Rick Perry said the Texas Enterprise Fund will contribute $12 million to the Chevron project. The development, he said, will create 1,752 jobs. Those new jobs, according to Chevron spokesman Russell Johnson, will be new hires to support the company’s growth in Houston over the next several years.

The public incentive deal requires Chevron to receive a “local incentive,” as well, the state said. Chevron is in discussions with the city of Houston about the availability of economic development programs for the property, Johnson said, adding: “There are no details to share at this time.”