March 18, 2004
ChevronTexaco closes the sale

After all that hoo-hah, ChevronTexaco went ahead and bought the Enron Building anyway, without the tax abatement from Harris County.

Houston City Council had already agreed to give ChevronTexaco a tax break on $64 million in building improvements and furnishings, reducing the California company's tax payments to the city by $350,000 a year over 10 years.

Doubts about the deal arose after ChevronTexaco indicated it also expected tax incentives from a reluctant county government.

It was unclear how the county's position affected negotiations for the purchase of the gleaming new building, completed by Enron shortly after its collapse into bankruptcy.

Plans now call for consolidating ChevronTexaco's 4,700 workers and 500 workers from outside Texas at the new facility at 1500 Louisiana. The current work force in Houston is now in seven buildings.

The oil giant would still have to pay taxes on the building's current assessed value of $79.3 million, which would bring the city $520,000 a year.

If I'm understanding this correctly, CT still gets a break from the city on planned improvements to the building, but not from the county. Hard to argue the assertion of the County Commissioners' Court at this point that there was no need for them to kick in, as the sale clearly did not hinge on it. This may still be seen as a screwup on Mayor White's part (though again I can't say for sure if the Commissioners squeezed him a bit), but it looks like it'll be a pretty small ding on his record.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2004 to Enronarama | TrackBack