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Capital Tower to have ‘floating’ sky park with downtown views

October 12, 2017 GMT

A sky park 12 floors above the street level will be part of downtown’s Capitol Tower when it opens in 2019.

Skanska, which is developing the 35-story office building with Bank of America as the lead tenant, revealed the green roof as a sustainability feature.

The 24,000-square-foot park, which represents the size of about half a city block, will provide views of Pennzoil Place, 712 Main and Esperson. Winding paths bordered by native plants and grasses and shaded by arbors and roofs, will provide a spot for tenants and private corporate events.

“It will be very transparent to look out over the edge,” said Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska Commercial Development.

“The intent is to look like that space is kind of floating above the city.”

Skanska tapped OJB Landscape Architecture about a year ago to develop a plan to turn the space above the parking garage into a green space.


“We thought we were missing a great opportunity not to open that up to the entire building,” Damborsky said.

Capital Tower is among a handful of projects under construction nationwide to be pre-certified as LEED v4 Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building at 800 Capitol is designed to use 25 percent less energy than typical facilities, according to Skanska.

The garden is part of a plan to retain all rainwater on site and help cool the environment, according to Skanska. A 50,000-gallon cistern will irrigate the garden with collected rainwater using an automated system.

Houston’s newest skyscrapers, including 609 Main and BG Group Place, feature sky gardens available to select tenants. The 39th-floor sky garden notched into the 48-story BG Group Place building is a prominent feature in the building’s design.

Developers are retrofitting older buildings with more parks and public areas designed to attract new companies. Brookfield recently unveiled the Acre, a one-acre park on Smith Street as part of a $48.5 million makeover of its Allen Center complex.

The Gensler-designed Capitol Tower will have a two-story atrium with retail space on the tunnel level. The building is on target for completion in the second quarter. So far, 16 stories have gone up.