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The Southmore News - Houston’s Most Ambitious New High-Rises — Including an Exclusive Look at a Downtown Stunner

Houston’s Most Ambitious New High-Rises — Including an Exclusive Look at a Downtown Stunner

October 9th, 2017

Vertical Living is no longer some foreign concept that draws perplexed looks in the Bayou City. No one has to sell Houstonians on the advantages of the high life anymore, especially not in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. A flurry of high-rise openings over the last few years made power players from River Oaks to Katy aware of the benefits of this walkable urban lifestyle. It’s not just a New York, or a Los Angeles, or a Chicago thing anymore. It’s become an accepted, sought-after Houston staple, too.

Now, a new wave of buildings is seizing on this to do more. Just having a killer view and valet parking is not enough anymore. Houston’s cloud huggers must truly stand out to make it now. These Next Gen Buildings will change how the city looks at the sky.

When it comes to high-rises, most people tend to look up — to gawk at a building stretching toward the clouds. It is instinctive to imagine what life will be like swaddled in a cocoon of sky-high luxury, often literally above it all. This is why Houston’s high-rises are seeing a surge of local interest in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s historic destruction — this sense of looking up and being able to escape is powerful and almost primal.

William Elser, director at Hines, knows it’s often just as important to look down the hall in his job, though. For these seemingly innocuous corridors can set a tone for a tower, which is really, if one thinks about it, still supposed to be a home first.

“That’s one of the first things Mr. Hines looks at when he tours a building,” Elser says, referencing the founder, chairman and still-very-active 91-year-old vision setter for the company that bears his name. “He looks down the hallways.

“It can’t look institutional. You’ve got to make sure it doesn’t look like you’re in The Shining.”

With that in mind, Elser and the rest of the team orchestrating the development and build of The Southmore, a new 24-story Hines high-rise in the Museum District, made sure that its hallways are not just long rows of doors. Instead, doorways are recessed, distinctive digital wallpaper graces the walls, the lighting is muted rather than hospital glaring, and fresh outside air is pumped in. When you notice a smell in a hall, it’s rarely a good thing — it’s like coming across a used car with “an interesting history.” In this case, the scent is memorably invigorating.

 

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