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Houston's Hines gets Devon's tower job

By Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 26, 2008

/> Currently the firm controls assets valued at $19.9 billion.

John Wood, project officer at Hines, said his company specializes in doing "signature buildings.” Recent works include 1180 Peachtree in Atlanta, and corporate headquarters for H&R Block in Kansas City and the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha.

Height still being decided
"I think one of the reasons we're so excited and the reason Hines and Devon came together is Mr. Hines started this firm with the thought of using signature architecture to set buildings off and let the buildings make statements in the cities we build in,” Wood said.

Since the new Devon Tower was announced, much public speculation has ensued as to the ultimate height of the skyscraper. Currently, the city's tallest building is Chase Tower, which is 36 stories high.

Nichols said Friday he is still uncertain how tall the tower will be — and that the company is still evaluating floor plans that range between 22,000 and 27,000 square feet. That decision is key to the height; the smaller the footprint, the taller the building.

Wood points to two buildings developed by Hine — Omaha's Union Pacific headquarters, with 1 million square feet, standing at 19 stories, and Atlanta's 1180 Peachtree building, with 700,000 square feet, which is 41 stories — as examples of how floor plans can impact height.

Typically, Wood said, corporate headquarters buildings have larger footprints than do speculative office towers like 1180 Peachtree. The Omaha tower has a 50,000-square-foot floor plan, while the Atlanta tower's floor plan is 23,000 square feet.

The task of determining Devon's footprint is under way with the assistance of Gensler, an interior-design firm that has worked with Devon for several years on space planning for its Houston and Oklahoma City offices.

"We still don't have the answer (on height),” Nichols said. "We're still refining our own numbers in terms of how many square feet we need, which will be driven by our forecast on future employee headcount. Meanwhile, our space designers are looking at how we function and the ideal size of each floor. That should all come together in the not-too-distant future.”