Houston Endowment has purchased 1.5 acres near the intersection of Memorial and Waugh to build a new home the institution says will better reflect its values and offer a more collaborative workplace for its employees and community partners.
The site is in the 3600 block of Willia Street, just north of Buffalo Bayou and overlooking Spotts Park.
“This building has to reflect our values and priorities,” Ann Stern, president and chief executive of the philanthropic institution, said, citing sustainability, innovation and collaboration. “We’re viewing this as an investment in our current work.”
A plan to relocate has been in the works for several years. The Endowment has a staff of about 30 people who currently work in 16,000 square feet at downtown’s Chase Tower where it has had offices since 1992.
“As a perpetual institution, this just makes business sense for us,” Stern said. “And it’s also appealing to have it be ours from a functional standpoint.”
The Endowment finalized the purchase of the land Wednesday. Stern would not disclose the acquisition price or the name of the seller, but Harris County records show the previous owner as Pinto Urban Building. The county valued the property in 2018 at $4.4 million. At one time the site housed a YWCA.
An architect has not yet been selected to design the new building, which is estimated to be between 35,000 and 40,000 square feet.
Stern said it will likely be late 2021 or 2022 until the group is ready to move.
The Endowment was established by builder and philanthropist Jesse H. Jones and his wife Mary Gibbs Jones in 1937 and has more than $1.8 billion in assets. Each year it provides some $70 million in funding toward efforts that aim to enhance civic assets and strengthen systems that support residents.
Cushman & Wakefield represented the endowment in the land acquisition. The Gensler architecture firm, Forney Construction and law firm Jackson Walker also assisted the institution.