Ever since it was established in 1836, Texas’s Downtown Houston has been the city of Houston’s most prominent business district. Nine Fortune 500 corporations have office spaces downtown, including United Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, and Marathon Oil. In general, Downtown Houston is made up largely of commercial property and spacious parks, and is a great location for businesses looking to set up shop in the city.
Downtown contains Houston’s civic center with Houston City Hall and Harris County courthouses. But the neighborhood isn’t all business—it’s also a major hub of entertainment and recreation. Whether you’re into professional sports, touring museums, the performing arts, or historic locations, Downtown Houston has it all. The proximity and access to such a variety of activities makes the neighborhood one of the best in Houston to work in!
Downtown Houston Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Downtown Houston has nearly 40 million square feet of office space, so plenty of options are available for companies of all sizes, from executive office suites to large open spaces for collaborative teams and coworking. Our brokers recommend budgeting 150 square feet per employee. The only other submarkets with a comparable amount of office space inventory are Galleria and the Energy Corridor.
The average Downtown Houston office space rents for $41 per square foot, well above the Houston office space average price of $30 per square foot. This is because 80% of the office space in Downtown Houston is in Class A office buildings — a type of space which, in the area, has average asking rents of $45 per square foot. However, the 20% vacancy rate and recent lull in leasing activity and new property construction has kept prices low compared to other major metro areas in the United States such as Washington, D.C. or New York.
As the economy thrives, demand Downtown Houston office space continues to grow. There is more than 2 million square feet of new office space under construction to help accommodate the growing demand for available office spaces.
The Houston, Texas office space market has seen subdued leasing activity and rising vacancy rates — as of January 2019, only two quarters since the start of 2015 have seen more than four million square feet of leasing activity across Houston properties, compared to 14 consecutive quarters from 2011 through the end of 2014. This has created a favorable leasing environment for new businesses to secure available space at lower rates. However, given the city’s economic ties to energy and oil prices, the office leasing environment looks to stay uncertain for the foreseeable future.
Looking to start your office space search in Houston? Contact us for help finding available office space, from executive suites to large offices with ample meeting space, at the right price.
What Brokers Say About Office Space for Lease in Downtown Houston
The Houston commercial real estate market ended 2018 with its first consecutive quarters of declining vacancy rates in more than three years. New construction played a key role in the end of 2018, impressive performance, as more 700,000 square feet of new inventory was 100% leased upon completion.
Notable lease signings in major Houston properties in 2018 include:
- ConocoPhillips, moving into a new 600,000 square feet Houston office at the Energy Center 4 building.
- HPE leasing 568,000 square feet at Springwoods Village.
- McDermott committing to 525,000 square feet at the never before occupied Energy Center V building (completed in 2016).
- Transocean leasing 300,000 square feet at the Enclave Place, a 302,000 sq. ft. building comprised entirely of offices.
- Waste Management signed a lease for 284,000 square feet of office space at Capitol Tower, which is set to deliver in 2019.
Despite the growth in leasing activity, Houston finished 2018 with negative net absorption the fifth year in a row. However, there are positive signs that the economy and commercial real estate market are trending in a positive direction. Thanks to strong job growth and increased leasing activity, Houston is finally in a position for sustained growth. Tenants will have the upper hand in lease negotiations for a few more quarters, but increased competition for office space will eventually put property owners at an advantage.
Getting to, From, and Around Downtown Houston
The Downtown Houston area is 2 square miles in size, and rests at the heart of the city of Houston with Northside to the north; Fifth Ward and Sharptown to the east; Third Ward and Midtown to the south; and Sixth Ward and Montrose to the west. Interstate 10, Interstate 45 and Interstate 69 all come together in Downtown, making getting to and from the neighborhood a breeze. Get to key Houston neighborhoods and locations like Uptown/Galleria, Texas Medical Center, Energy Corridor, and Westchase in about 20 to 30 minutes by car.
More than 100,000 people travel through Downtown Houston every day for their commute, and the neighborhood makes it easy. Those who live relatively close to work and are looking for environmentally friendly ways to travel can explore the creative network of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks or trying biking, which is a very popular way to get around when the weather permits. Those looking for faster travel options have plenty of choices as well. Downtown is situated at the center of both the light rail system (for those looking to take advantage of local public transit services) and the metropolitan freeway network; the headquarters to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is located here. For those who choose to drive, metered parking is generally available on the streets of Houston.
Food and Drink Options in Downtown Houston
Looking for a chance to meet outside the office for lunch or a meeting? Downtown Houston has a variety of high quality restaurants to choose from. Consider one of the many unique dining options in the neighborhood, such as: Brasserie du Parc, Kulture, Conservatory, Rachels Cafe, Post Oak Grill, or The Pho Spot. If a visiting business partner needs a place to stay, look up Marriott Marquis Houston, Four Seasons Hotel, Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston Downtown, or JW Marriott Downtown Houston. If you’re looking for somewhere for an after-work meeting or a happy hour, you’re sure to find something great from the following list: The Rustic, Miss Carousel, Reserve 101, or Lilly & Bloom.
Get to Know Downtown Houston
Houston is filled to the brim with urban opportunity but flavored with Southern charm. The entire city of Houston used to be the size of Downtown Houston until two real estate investors from New York bought 6,642 acres of land after the Texas Revolution, and a team of surveyors plotted the land for city expansion. In 1995, the Houston Downtown Management District began working to revitalize the city’s urban core while maintaining its style to make it clean, safe and beautiful.
Downtown Houston offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Fifteen public parks are located in the submarket—linear parks, block parks and plazas. They’re all very different. For example, in Downtown Houston’s historic district, Market Square Park includes seemingly unrelated features: a 9/11 Memorial, a Greek restaurant and two dog runs. Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center are home to the Astros and Rockets, respectively.
Those who are interested in the performing arts don’t have to go to NYC. Houston is one of the United States’ only five cities that has permanent professional resident companies in opera, ballet, music and theater. Well-known venues include the Wortham Center, the Alley Theater, the Hobby Center and the Bayou Music Center.
Here is a list of a few other must-do activities in Downtown Houston:
- Visiting the Church of Beer: Downtown’s Church of Beer, also known as the St. Arnold Brewing Company, is Texas’s oldest craft beer brewery. Marvel at the property’s cathedral-esque architecture, and get a great view of Downtown Houston from the beer garden.
- Spending an afternoon in Discovery Green Park: This park is great in size, clocking in at 12 acres! With two promenades, a lake, a fountain, and a great view of Downtown, visitors are sure to enjoy an afternoon stroll throughout this beautiful open space. Its central location is especially convenient for those who work in the area and are in need of a midday break!
- Take a Double-Decker Bus Tour: This type of hop-on, hop-off service is a great way to get a feel of the city and get access to the most important attractions. Jump on board at the bus service’s following pick-up locations:
- GRB Convention Center
- Market Square Park
- City Hall Visitor Center
- Downtown Aquarium
- Hermann Park
- Museum District
The entire service takes about one and a half hours to complete. For an all-day pass, the price for children is $29.95, the price for children is $34.95, and the price for seniors or military personnel is $29.95.
Contact us today if you’re looking for an office location in Downtown Houston.