LOCAL Houston | The City Guide March 2017 - Page 64

STYLE + LEISURE GOING UP TEXACO BUILDING NOW SOARS AS THE STAR It’s been vacant since 1989, but now Downtown’s landmark Texaco Building has a stylish new lease on life. Just shy of its 102nd birthday, the Renaissance Revival-style former oil company headquarters at 1111 Rusk Street is welcoming guests again as part of the Downtown Living Initiative. Under the stewardship of Provident Realty Advisors, the skyscraper has been reborn as THE STAR – a luxury apartment building. A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY: Built for The Texas Company, which became Texaco in 1959, the original wing was designed by the New York firm of Warren & Wetmore, also responsible for Manhattan’s 1913 Grand Central Terminal and a number of upscale hotels and residential buildings. The façade of brick, terra cotta and Bedford limestone, as well as the signature, grand limestone arcades with Tuscan columns along Rusk, was replicated with the 1958 addition by noted architect Kenneth Franzheim. Forget those new cookie-cutter developments. The Star’s restored mosaic tile flooring and original decorative brass elevator surrounds are focal points of the lobby, which is staffed 24/7 by a concierge and free valet for leasing visitors, residents and their guests. With 22 different floorplans, the design of each residence maximizes window placement, views and a myriad of unique attributes. Depending on the apartment location, the historic nature of the building has created a bonus mix of extras such as deep window ledges for seating or display, beamed ceilings over 11 feet in height and large kitchens, living areas and bedrooms. It’s been a labor of love (and love at first sight) for Provident’s KIP PLATT, who traces his relationship to The Star back nearly a decade when his company initially sought out another historic apartment conversion opportunity in Houston. While investigating the nearby option, a chance tour eventually led Platt on a roller coaster ride as the Texaco Building spiraled through litigation and unmet fates. His perseverance finally paid off in 2013, when Provident Realty Advisors finally took ownership after nearly two years of contract negotiations and an 18-month closing period. Says Platt, “Looking at The Star today, everything was worth the wait.” You might say a star is re-born. By Tim Moloney Photography courtesy of Max Burkhalter 64 LOCAL | march 17