Gerald Hines, developer who changed Houston’s skyline, dies at 95

Projects included Manhattan’s Lipstick building and Pennzoil Place in Houston

TRD NATIONAL /
Aug.August 24, 2020 04:10 PM
Gerald Hines

Gerald Hines

Gerald Hines, who transformed Houston’s skyline and built the Lipstick Building in Manhattan, died at his Connecticut home Sunday. He was 95.

Hines built some of Houston’s largest office and shopping centers including the sprawling, upscale Galleria and Pennzoil Place downtown.

The Lipstick Building (Credit: Philip Johnson via Wikipedia)

The Lipstick Building (Credit: Philip Johnson via Wikipedia)

Born in Gary, Indiana, Hines, whose father was an electrician in a steel mill, said on a childhood trip to Chicago that one day he wanted to build such skyscrapers, according to his company’s website.

After graduating from Purdue University with an engineering degree in 1948, Hines began his career working in the HVAC industry. He soon started his own commercial real estate venture, Hines, and ended up developing over 885 projects, including more than 100 taller than 25 stories. Hines developed the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, the Tour EDF in Paris and Diagonal Mar in Barcelona.

The Galleria, Houston, Texas (Credit: Wikipedia)

The Galleria, Houston, Texas (Credit: Wikipedia)

Hines also constructed One Shell Plaza in downtown Houston, the tallest building in Texas when completed in 1971 and for a time was the headquarters of Shell Oil. Perhaps his most influential development was Pennzoil Place, which was completed in 1975 and consists of two 36-story trapezoidal towers of dark tinted glass connected by a courtyard enclosed by 115-foot-high glass. The office building was a contrast from the modernist glass box style that was popular at the time.

Hines became a powerful figure in Texas and served as chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank under Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker from 1981 to 1983.

He eventually handed over day-to-day operations of his company to his son, Jeff Hines, in 1990. Outside of work, Hines was known for leading climbing expeditions, backcountry ski trips and cycling trips around the world. Hines is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children, 15 grandchildren, 13 nieces and nephews and 1 great-grandson.


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