Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Not London...but it IS an adventure!

A few months ago I blogged about a business opportunity to move to London. The position didn't pan out but I've recently made some changes within the company. My office is now in downtown Houston and I wanted to share a little of my downtown experience with you.Do you know about The Downtown Tunnel system?!?! Although the Tunnel is one of Houston's best-kept secrets, most of downtown's 150,000-person workforce - and thousands of visitors - use it every day, particularly when it's raining or close to 100 degrees above ground. This system of air-conditioned skywalks and subterranean passages has been given many different names - mall, concourse, connection, underground, promenade - but Houstonians continue to call it simply "the Tunnel."
Set about twenty feet below Houston's downtown street system, the seven-mile Tunnel is a series of underground passageways which, with above-ground skywalks, link office towers to hotels, banks, corporate and government offices, restaurants, retail stores, and the Theater District. Only one building, Wells Fargo Plaza, offers direct access from the street to the Tunnel; otherwise, you must enter the Tunnel from street-level stairs, escalators, or elevators located inside a building connected to the Tunnel. Most of the Tunnel is not owned by the City of Houston but by building property owners who lease space in their buildings' lower levels to retailers. Costing up to $15,000 per linear foot to build, links to the Tunnel are an enormous advantage when leasing office space. In fact, many property owners decorate their sections of the Tunnel with unique recessed lighting, display windows, and art, so you can usually tell when you are leaving one building for another just by noticing the change in Tunnel decor.

The Tunnel was not centrally planned; it just grew, inspired by Rockefeller Center in New York. But it is not connected to a transit network. And, befitting Texans’ distrust of government, most of it is private; each segment is controlled by the individual building owner who deigns to allow the public access during business hours — and then locks the doors on nights and weekends. Some parts, like those belonging to the former Enron buildings now leased by Chevron, are closed to outsiders altogether.
Below are a few of the pictures I took with my new camera! (yes...my old one died and besides being busy with a new position, I finally found time to go out and buy another one). I'm still learning about the bells and whistles so I apologize for the incorrect date printed on my shots...LOL! There are stores that sell greeting cards, small gifts, snacks, etc.
Haircuts, shoe shines, eye doctors and Starbucks are part of the mix!
Here's the tunnel florist and bank.
The tunnels also lead to some of the parking garages. They are well lite and air conditioned so it's safe to walk alone if you work late.
And here is my final destination....a 12 story parking garage. I'm really getting a workout walking the 5 city blocks from the parking garage to the office and back to the garage. But I LOVE the DOWNTOWN VIBE!!!! It's not London....but it's an adventure and I'm soaking it up!

17 comments:

  1. I had not heard of this tunnel. That IS a lot of walking, but at least there is some pleasant scenery along the way. Best of luck with the new job. Sounds exciting. laurie

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  2. What an awesome tunnel - I had no idea and I love the glitzy look of the store fronts. Congrats on the job and glad you like the new office location. Your new camera sounds wonderful. I always enjoy your photos of friends' houses too. I finally got my dining room columns finished. The post is 8/12/09 if you get a chance to look.

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  3. Wow I never knew about these tunnels! That is so cool. I wish Phoenix had something like this!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Take Care,
    Cherrie

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  4. Congratulations on your job change! I have heard of the tunnel, but I have never been. Someday while visiting Houston I would like to see it! It is such a cool idea-literally-in the Texas summer heat!
    Blessings,
    Lorilee

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  5. I have never been to Houston but would love to visit sometime. Sorry the London deal didn't pan out, guess God needs you here:)Our daughter got a schnauzer puppy and so I am puppy sitting today.

    Have a blessed day.

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  6. Never knew about the tunnel. That's pretty cool.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. And congrats on the new position.

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  7. Good luck on the new job Susan! I love the downtown vibe myself when I visit Houston.

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  8. I had my gallery downtown back in the early 90's and it was a GREAT place to be! However, I don't think I EVER got use to the traffic....now after many, many moons...glad to be "outside the loop". Course, if I didn't have kids...I would have probably stayed "inside the loop"!

    COME SEE ME!!!! xo...deb

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  9. Very cool! Your certainly getting your excercise!!

    Jen

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  10. That is so cool, I had no idea about the tunnel. It looks very interesting and well planned out.

    Hope you enjoy your new job☺

    Thanks for the comments you left on my blog, yes, it is faux finished.

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  11. I didn't know about the Houston tunnels. Oklahoma City has a similar system on a much smaller scale. Years ago, when I was 18 years old, I started my work career at a bank downtown OKC, and I was in the tunnel. I thought it was the most cosmopolitan thing ever.

    I grew up for the most part in the country, so it was quite differemt working downtown underground.

    When I was much younger, my family lived near Houston.. and I do remember the Galleria. Good memories of Houston and Galveston and Clear Lake. Guess you could say I was a NASA brat.

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  12. What a cool post, I never think to post about "our" everyday journeys!! That tunnel is really cool,and congrats on your job!! All the best,Chrissy

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  13. Actually, it DOES look like an adventure to me. The tunnel looks really cool. Coming from this WAHM, just about anything is an adventure to me!

    ~Amanda

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  14. Hi Susan. You know we've been in 'the tunnel' just once. We had heard of it for years but had a hard time finding out how to get in it! :) You've shown some nice shots. Hope you enjoy your job. We'll have to get together sometimes since we live so close together.
    Be a sweetie and thanks for coming to see my Roosters,
    Shelia ;)

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  15. wowo I didnt even know that was there lol! I love it!

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  16. Susan, After living in rural America it's hard to imagine all of this underground. It is awesome. I use to work downtown Denver and loved working downtown. You sound happy and I am happy about that!
    Hugs, Terrie

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