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Hurricane Harvey's Houston Legacy Emerges in Flood Gates at Riverway Offices

Year Two After Record Storm Means Amenities Include Backflow Systems Along With Coffee Bars
September 10, 2018

After Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in August 2017, upgrades planned for One and Three Riverway aim to control any similar disasters.

To see what year two will hold after Hurricane Harvey dumped 51 inches of rain on Houston, look no further than a renovation of an office complex with amenities like flood gates as well as coffee bars.

Unilev Management Corp. and capital partner Azrieli Group have begun a multimillion-dollar renovation project featuring the gates and other reinforcements against record high water at One and Three Riverway, two Class A office buildings in Houston totaling 880,000 square feet.

The properties have struggled with flooding in the past, particularly from Harvey in August 2017 because of their proximity to Buffalo Bayou, an urbanized watershed area with two reservoirs the city uses for flood mitigation. Parts of the bayou remained underwater for several weeks after Hurricane Harvey struck. The luxury Omni Hotel at nearby Four Riverway was flooded during the storm and has been closed as it undergoes $30 million in repairs and renovations.

3 Riverway awaits flood-prevention upgrades.

Expanding on the Harris County Flood Control District projects, Unilev has contracted Walter P. Moore to design storm protection system upgrades including the insertion of the flood gates and backflow preventers that will insulate both One and Three Riverway from future risks.

"The Riverway complex is of incredible importance to Unilev, and we have been diligently planning and implementing measures to return these assets back to a premier choice for tenants in the Galleria submarket. The lobby and amenity renovations will enable us to elevate the service we can provide to our tenants today and in the future," said Matther Kent, chief operating officer for Unilev, in a statement.

Planned alongside the improvements, Riverway is also getting a facelift. Ziegler Cooper Architects is at the helm of a stylish redesign and restoration plans that include new modernized lobbies featuring a coffee bar and tenant lounge, fitness centers, conference centers and delis. Both buildings will offer updated common areas, elevator lobbies and restrooms on multitenant floors. Endurance Builders began the renovations to the interiors of both buildings in early August. Construction is scheduled to be completed by November.

CBRE is working with Unilev to lease the property. "Ownership is fully committed to the long-term success of both One and Three Riverway and are investing significant capital to ensure they remain the preferred option for tenants that desire superior access within the West Loop submarket," said CBRE Senior Vice President Kristen Rabel.

Kyle Hagerty, Houston Reporter  CoStar Group   
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