Houston/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 02, 2024
Florida-Based The Wideman Company Acquires Historic Buildings in Downtown HoustonSource: Google Street View

In a significant move for Houston's downtown area, The Wideman Company, hailing from Florida, has taken ownership of two landmark buildings. The purchased properties include the Great Jones Building at 703 Main St and the JPMorgan Chase Bank tower at 712 Main, a staple in the Houston skyline for nearly a century. The financial details of the sale were not disclosed by the Orlando-based firm.

The real estate development company has ambitious plans to refurbish these historic structures, according to the Houston Chronicle. Matthew Wideman, CEO of The Wideman Co., intends to infuse the old-world charm buildings with modern flair. "You just don’t build buildings like this anymore and that uniqueness is, what we want to lean into with modern touches, amenities and services," he said. This modernization aims to attract new tenants, even as approximately 30% of the space in the complex currently lies vacant.

Amidst the fluctuations of the post-pandemic office space market, The Wideman Company's acquisition is seen as a vote of confidence in downtown Houston's economic potential. The company plans to create speculative suites in the Chase tower, making them enticing move-in-ready options for businesses seeking flexibility, according to the Chron. These suites vary in size to accommodate different tenant needs and reflect the ongoing trend of short-term leasing options gaining favor over traditional long-term leases.

The prospect of converting the Great Jones Building to residential units has been floated but is not an immediate priority for The Wideman Co., hearts set on revitalizing the office complex. However, the suggestion indicates a contemplative approach to repurposing real estate in response to the changing landscape of work and living spaces in urban environments. "We kind of look at it as adapt or die, the people who adapt to the flexible work week with a creative space, those will capture the market," Harrison Loew, director of acquisitions at Wideman, told Chron.

While the company has not laid out explicit details about the forthcoming amenities, it emphasizes that the upscaling of Jones on Main is crucial for staying relevant in a metamorphosing market. This blend of the old and new exemplifies a broader trend in Houston's commercial real estate where even storied buildings must pivot to meet the expectations of a dynamic workforce. The acquisition by The Wideman Co. could very well serve as a harbinger for rejuvenation in the heart of downtown Houston.

Houston-Real Estate & Development