Gulf Building

Coordinates: 29°45′32″N 95°21′49″W / 29.75889°N 95.36361°W / 29.75889; -95.36361

The JPMorgan Chase Building, formerly the Gulf Building, is located in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States. It is one of the preeminent Art Deco skyscrapers in the southern United States. Completed in 1929, it remained the tallest building in Houston until 1963, when the Exxon Building surpassed it in height. The building is the Houston headquarters of JPMorgan Chase Bank, and was formerly the headquarters of Texas Commerce Bank.


Jesse H. Jones arranged to have the Gulf Building constructed; it was built in 1929. Designed by architects Alfred C. Finn, Kenneth Franzheim, and J. E. R. Carpenter the building is seen as a realization of Eliel Saarinen's losing but acclaimed entry to the Chicago Tribune Tower competition.

Texas Commerce Bank initiated the restoration of the building in 1989, in what is still considered one of the largest privately funded preservation projects in American history. Recent preservation work included restoring the terrazzo floor in the building's Banking Hall, but keeping the hollows worn into the marble border where generations of customers stood to conduct their banking business. Largely through the efforts of JPMorgan Chase, the former Gulf Building was designated a City of Houston Landmark in 2003. The structure was already a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Texas Commerce Bank also owned another history-making skyscraper in downtown Houston, the neighboring 75-story Texas Commerce Tower, completed in 1982, and now known as the JPMorgan Chase Tower.

In 2010, JPMorgan Chase sold the former Gulf Building to the Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund. Chase will be leasing space from the tower on a long term basis. Chase, as of February 12, 2010, occupied about 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of space in the building. Chase planned to remove about 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) from its lease agreement, saying that it does not need the space anymore. After the Chase relinquishment, the building will be 75% leased, and 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of space in the JPMorgan Chase Building will be available for lease.

The building

The building has a total of 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) of space. On the ground floor the building has a 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) retail banking center. The banking center has 43 feet (13 m) ceilings, floors and walls made of marble, and large stained glass windows. On August 30th, 2010 the 27th floor of the building caught fire. The fire quickly escalated from one, to two, to three alarms within 30 minutes as firefighters tried to battle the blaze with low water pressure.


On August 30, 2010, an alarm was called at about 8pm for a fire on the 27th floor. The Houston Fire Department responded with 3 alarms and 270 men. The fire was officially extinguished at 11:20 pm. Due to a broken pipe, HFD had to pipe water directly into the building. During the course of extinguishing the blaze, six firefighters were injured. They were taken to a local hospital and later released.

Building Activity

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