The Business Capital of Houston
Downtown is just that for companies ranging from multi-national corporations to small local firms
O By Sandra Cook
Over the past 15 years, downtown has become a more attractive, perpetually active and diverse place, offering the vibrant work environment and image desired by many corporate employers. Companies large and small are taking note and taking action to move their offices to downtown Houston. And here’s why: proximity. Companies have found that a downtown address puts them within walking distance of the region’s most powerful public accounting firms, legal firms, energy firms and bankers. Employees have access to hundreds of nearby restaurants and shops within walking distance, many in the 6.5-mile, air-conditioned pedestrian tunnel system. And downtown is at the center of Houston’s transportation and transit networks. No other business district in the Houston region can offer that type of access. About 50 percent of the downtown workforce uses Park & Ride bus service directly from the suburbs, rides local buses or light rail, carpools, bikes or even walks to work.
A natural fit for a natural gas leader Making recent news, international natural gas company BG Group, has leased 164,000 square feet (six floors) at Hines’ cutting-edge, pre-certified Platinum LEED office tower at 811 Main, which is being renamed BG Group Place. BG Group plans to relocate its U.S. headquarters to the new 46-story building in mid- to late 2011. “We’ve expanded as much as we can at our current location in the Galleria area and needed to find a much larger location,” says David Keane, vice president of policy & corporate affairs for BG Americas and Global LNG. “Houston is the center of our operations in this region, which includes North America and South America.” BG Group employs more than 400 at the Galleria-area location and plans to expand its workforce with recent major investments in projects in northwest Louisiana and the Appalachian Basin. “We started looking at downtown and saw a lot of benefits,” says Keane. “The ease of commuting and having mass transit are important to our employees. Also, there’s a lot to do with restaurants and businesses co-located nearby, so
Fast facts about downtown Houston: 1.8 square miles; 140,000-person workforce; 44 million square feet of office space; 70 percent of METRO’s bus lines lead to and from downtown, including all of METRO’s Park and Ride services and METRORail.
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