Nostalgia: From Boom to Building

1555 Poydras St. remains a thriving economic force

The oil boom of the late 1970s and early ’80s changed the New Orleans skyline drastically when some of the city’s tallest buildings were constructed. With the opening of the Superdome in ’75, the corridor along Poydras Street became a target for construction, transforming it from a dilapidated area into a bustling land of high-rises.

One of those buildings was the Exxon Building, now known as 1555 Poydras St. Designed by Sikes, Jennings and Kelly of Houston, the 22-story, 262-foot-tall skyscraper was finished in 1982, and features sawtooth bay windows, bands of reflective glass and 467,671 square feet of rentable space. The building’s first major tenant was the Exxon Corporation.

But the oil bust that soon followed in the 1980s caused chaos, and New Orleans entered a severe economic depression.

In ’90, the mortgage debt on 1555 Poydras St. was over $30 million, and payments on it had ceased. Sales and bargaining saved the building.

During the early 1990s, Exxon, still reeling from the oil bust, began consolidating their offices and gave up some of their space in the building, but other businesses (including the Louisiana Supreme Court) came in, and occupancy stayed around 80 to 90 percent through the ’90s. Things began to look up and, in 2002, 1555 Poydras St. won an international real estate award for its management and operations.

 In 2003 the building faced another crisis when Exxon finally closed its New Orleans operations; however, within 6 months, the Internal Revenue Service moved in, followed in ’04 by Tulane University’s leasing of 180,000-square-feet (the largest Class A lease in the CBD in 10 years). Tulane remains the main occupant of the building.

After Hurricane Katrina the building also housed the Road Home offices and to this day is a thriving economic force in downtown New Orleans.
 

You Might Also Like

Favorite Forces

Recipes From Café Reconcile and SoBou

10 Things To Do in New Orleans This Weekend

Our top picks for this weekend's events.

Quenching Your Inner Beach Thirst

Have a taste of the beach wherever you are with these 4 cocktail recipes.

10 Things To Do in New Orleans This Weekend

Our top picks for this weekend's events.

Basic Training

An explosion in business catering to vegan and raw diets

Reader Comments:
Sep 27, 2011 11:28 am
 Posted by  binnola

Apparently no one bothered to check how much space Tulane actually occupies....I would not call this building (or its sister buildings, 1515 or 1615 for that matter) a thriving economic force in downtown New Orleans....Fact is, the migration that occurred during the oil boom to the Superdome end of the CBD was short lived and the area that's really thriving are the buildings within two or three blocks of St. Charles Avenue and Poydras. If you would have checked real occupancies and tracked demand over the last say 20 years, you would have not come to your conclusion.

Add your comment:

Latest Posts

Banh Mis and Mosaics

Celebrating a birthday and a community

Upper Nine Doughnut Company: Making New Traditions

An interview with Glenn Haggerty, co-owner of Upper Nine Doughnut Company

New Rules for Men's Summer Suits

Making the case for expanding white linen suit and seersucker season

Tourist Trap

Slowing down enough to appreciate New Orleans

What 'Kale Gate' Says About Finding Kale in New Orleans

Missing the point of the great kale debate