Baker Botts renews 172K-sqft lease at old One Shell Plaza

The Houston-based law firm has been a tenant since it was built in 1971

910 Louisiana Avenue in 1971 and today with Gerald D. Hines (Wikipedia, Loopnet, Hines)
910 Louisiana Avenue in 1971 and today with Gerald D. Hines (Wikipedia, Loopnet, Hines)

Baker Botts, one of the Bayou City’s largest law firms, just signed the biggest office leases of the year.

While many big companies are reducing their office space, Botts is renewing its eight-floor, 172,301-square-foot lease ​​at 910 Louisiana Avenue. Just down the street, engineering and construction powerhouse Bechtel recently cut its office space in half.

Though the terms were not disclosed, the Houston Chronicle reports, the deal is quintessentially Houston. The building, formerly known as One Shell Plaza, was one of the earliest office buildings developed by the legendary Gerald D. Hines. It was the tallest in downtown Houston when it opened in 1971 — the same year Baker Botts moved in.

The building’s biggest and oldest tenant is known for representing energy giants in the Bayou City. Behind Vinson & Elkin and Kirkland & Ellis, Baker Botts is the third largest law firm in Houston with 185 attorneys and over 400 employees locally, according to a Houston Chronicle survey of law firms.

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Hines sold the 50-story tower about a decade ago to Busycon Properties, which has completed more than $80 million worth of renovations since then. Winfield Haggard Jr. and Chip Colvill of Cushman & Wakefield represented Busycon. Baker Botts is “one of the few tenants with the ability to stay in the same spot for 50 plus years,” said Haggard.

Mark O’Donnell, one of the representatives of Botts, called the law firm “an integral part of downtown Houston since its founding.”

“The law firm has grown in tandem with the city, and it made sense for Baker Botts to keep its current headquarters in the heart of the Central Business District,” sayid O’Donnell.

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— Maddy Sperling