Bechtel is moving — and reducing its Houston office space by half

Engineering giant is leaving its home of 40 years and downsizing to fit its hybrid work policy

Bechtel is moving its 1,500 Houston-based employees out of the firm’s longtime home of 40 years in Galleria into a new Westchase building in one of the largest office deals in the region so far this year.

The engineering and construction powerhouse will be downsizing by more than half of its previous 440,00 square-foot space, signing a 205,000 square-foot lease in Parkway Property’s CityWestPlace campus. The 35-acre campus near Sam Houston Tollway about 8.6 miles west of the old building at 3000 Post Oak.

The decision was partially driven to accommodate the firm’s hybrid workplace policy, Paul Marsden, president of Bechtel’s energy division, told the Houston Chronicle.

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The move was confirmed by the Chronicle on Monday. On Tuesday, one of Bechtel’s subsidiaries landed a potential 10-year, $3 billion government contract from the Department of Energy.

While Bechtel has projects all over the globe, the Virginia-based company is particularly active in the Gulf Coast region. Earlier this year, Bechtel announced it is working with Cheniere Energy to build a major expansion of a liquefied natural gas plant in Corpus Christi. Cheniere also signed a new lease in the Houston area, closing on a near 170,000-square-foot lease in one of Hines’ premier towers.

As for 3000 Post Oak, Bechtel is leasing all of it, according to Chip Colvill of Cushman & Wakefield, which handles leasing for the building, nut the landlords are already planning a renovation to rework the space for a future tenant once Bechtel’s lease expires in 2024. Colvill’s son, Cameron recently made headlines for leaving Cushman & Wakefield for Whitebox.

Reducing office space has been a common trend since the start of the pandemic. About half of companies surveyed by CBRE earlier this year said they plan to reduce office space over the next three years. About 84 percent said they don’t need as much space because of remote working arrangements, according to a 2022 national survey.

[Houston Chronicle] — Maddy Sperling

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