By Cara Smith – Special to the Houston Business Journal

HBJ’s 2019 Landmark Awards: Rehabilitation/Renovation winner and finalists

  • Houston, TX - April 11,2019
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Winner: Wortham Theater Center
Developer: Houston First Corp.

General Contractor: Manhattan Construction Co.

Architect: Harrison Kornberg Architects

MEP: ARUP

Interior Designer: Harrison Kornberg Architects

Financier: Houston First Corp.

Attorney: Lisa Hargrove

Though Houston’s Theater District experienced unprecedented damages during Hurricane Harvey, the Wortham suffered the most by far. Houston First Corp. estimates that costs to repair the Wortham totaled over $100 million, excluding efforts to mitigate future flooding or costs to repair the underground parking garages.

Over 12 feet of floodwaters inundated the Wortham’s entire 150,000-square-foot basement, which included performance and rehearsal spaces plus rooms for props, wigs, costumes and more. Floodwaters also damaged one-third of the facility’s 60 air-handling units, and electrical, plumbing and elevator systems below the ground floor all suffered extensive damage.

Houston Grand Opera and Houston First worked together to create a temporary theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center, also operated by Houston First, where the opera performed its entire 2017-2018 season with no cancellations or date changes. The opera’s total Harvey-related losses are expected to be as much as $15 million. The ballet’s total losses are expected to be $14 million over three years. Still, forensic engineers were hired, and a flood mitigation plan was enacted, to ensure the Wortham’s resiliency for years to come.

Size: 437,000 square feet

Project value: $153 million

Finalist: CPT Eldridge Oaks LP
Developer: Transwestern

General Contractor: O’Donnell Snider Construction

Architect: Kirksey Architecture

Structural Engineer: Engineering Diagnostics

Environmental Engineer: EFI Global

MEP: DBR Inc.

Attorney: Thompson & Knight LLP

The remediation and recovery of Eldridge Oaks, an office building in the Energy Corridor, was an $8.3 million project that completely renovated the home of a large undisclosed oil and gas company, as well as several other tenants. Due to Hurricane Harvey, the office building retained reservoir water for 11 days. It flooded after the release of the Addicks Reservoir and retained black water from a neighboring sewage facility.

Eldridge Oaks required significant remediation. To power the generators used during the renovation, Transwestern used LP fuel instead of diesel fuel, which saved the building owner an estimated $800,000 in fuel costs. Additionally, since the building had retained black water, extensive indoor air quality checks were required. Every interior finish and piece of operational equipment had to be replaced.

After the renovation, Eldridge Oaks achieved LEED Gold certification.

Size: 365,591 square feet

Project value: $8.3 million

Finalist: Harbor View by Cortland
Developer: Cortland Build

General Contractor: Cortland Build

After Hurricane Harvey, renovations to the Harbor View multifamily property in Kingwood were required. The storm flooded 67 units, and water rose as high as eight feet in the property. Cortland completed renovations on all 250 units in the property in around a year. Residents whose units were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey were offered transfers to different units with no change in their rent, and their rents were frozen for two weeks in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Additionally, Cortland completed improvements in many of the units, such as new kitchens, giving some residents an even better quality of life than before Hurricane Harvey hit. During the recovery process, occupancy at the property dipped to roughly 70 percent. Today, Harbor View is 93 percent occupied.

Size: 250 units

Project value: Undisclosed

Finalist: Omni Houston Hotel
Developer: TRT Holdings Inc.

General Contractor: DPR Construction

Architect: Perkins + Will’s Boston Studio

Engineer: Walter P Moore

MEP: Affiliated Engineers

Interior Designer: Ealain Studio

Owner: Omni Houston Hotel

The Omni Houston Hotel on Riverway Drive reopened in November 2018 after suffering significant flooding during Hurricane Harvey and offers a completely reimagined nightclub, spa and wellness center, speakeasy-style whiskey lounge and more.

The 378-room hotel’s multimillion-dollar renovation covered an entire rebuild and redesign of the first floor. The hotel was closed for more than a year following Hurricane Harvey.

Today, guests are greeted in the lobby by an expansive lounge with modern, rustic lounge seating, a $15,000 custom-designed gathering table, a large bookshelf and fireplace and more. The hotel’s main restaurant, Birdies, is a bright, airy restaurant featuring lush greens and décor named after and inspired by Lady Bird Johnson. Black Swan, the hotel’s nightclub in the basement, was also renovated with a modern redesign valued at $2 million. This is the most extensive renovation that’s ever been completed at the Omni Riverway. The hotel also worked with a local civil engineering firm to create a flood-mitigation plan for future flooding events.

Size: 131,000 square feet

Project value: $30 million

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