Hines’ legacy project is the rhombus-shaped Brava

‘It was a bit of a gamble,’ says Hines COO

Hines’ Gerald Hines and Brava tower at 414 Milam Street (Hines, Munoz+Albin Architecture and Planning)
Hines’ Gerald Hines and Brava tower at 414 Milam Street (Hines, Munoz+Albin Architecture and Planning)

Hines’ 46-story trophy tower — now the tallest residential building in Houston — was its 95-year-old founder’s final legacy.

With its striking angles and curves, the 429,999-square-foot, 373-unit Brava looks like it could have been transported from Dubai and into Houston’s Central Business District.

Hines’ Brava building takes its name from the feminine form of “bravo,” the traditional exclamation of praise in the theater — a nod to the fact that the building overlooks the city’s theater district. The development originally had a much more pedestrian designation— The Preston — and the change to the more dramatic name in 2020 was one of Gerald D. Hines’ last contributions to his real estate empire before passing away.

“It was actually pretty special because Gerald was heavily involved in selecting the design before his passing,” said design executive Kevin Batchelor. “He really liked the concept of bringing in elements of the surrounding area to pay homage to the neighborhood.”

The towering apartment building at 414 Milam Street has all the typical trappings of a luxury high-rise, such as floor-to-ceiling windows, quartz countertops, walk-in showers, and freestanding tubs. Rents for penthouse units range from $8,589 to $13,727 per month. What makes it different, according to the Houston Business Journal, is its rhombus shape.

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Built on the diamond-shaped site of the former parking lot for the old Houston Chronicle headquarters — now Hines’ Texas Tower — Brava’s shape meant Hines could not pack in as many units per floor as traditional rectangular buildings.

Thus, the Brava had to be built taller to have as many units, says Hines COO Chris Rector, who declined to comment on the cost to build Brava.

“It was a bit of a gamble, no doubt,” says Rector. “But we felt it was important to take our time to build something special. If we did it right, we won’t have a problem finding tenants.”

Since opening in February, Brava is currently 43 percent leased.

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— Maddy Sperling