Motiva renovates four floors at Houston headquarters

Houston-based Motiva Enterprises LLC is undergoing a pair of renovations at its headquarters in downtown Houston as it prepares to add 500 employees to its global headcount by the end of next year.

More than half of the new employees will work out of the company’s Allen Center headquarters, which has already seen a substantial increase in manpower since the company started building up its major projects team in 2018, said Ed Haloulos, Motiva’s executive vice president of human resources.

Motiva expanded its lease at One Allen Center in June 2017, adding the third, fourth and fifth floors, according to Motiva spokeswoman Angela Goodwin. Renovations on the fourth and fifth floors of that building are set to complete in April, Goodwin said.

The refining company is in the midst renovating the fourth and fifth floors of both One Allen Center, along with the same floors at Three Allen Center, where it has a gym for employees, Haloulos said. Including the wellness center expansion, Motiva occupies about 250,000 square feet in One and Three Allen Center, along with a sublease of about 170,000 square feet of temporary space in Two Allen.

The four building permits covering renovations at One and Three Allen are for a total of nearly $12.5 million. O’Donnell/Snider Construction is the general contractor, according to the applications.

New kids on the block
The growth comes as Motiva builds up its capabilities after the departure of one of its parent companies in 2017. Royal Dutch Shell and the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., more commonly called Saudi Aramco, were joint owners of Motiva prior to the split. Now Motiva is wholly owned by Saudi Aramco.

“We do feel like we’re the new kids on the block,” Haloulos said. “But we’re excited about the growth opportunities we have ahead of us.”

One example of that is the major projects team, which Haloulos said grew from nothing to about 140 employees during 2018. The major projects team handles organic growth investments like the company’s upcoming expansion into petrochemicals. The team could continue to grow in the near term, depending on how the projects under its management progress, Haloulos said.

Right now, the major projects team works in the Two Allen temporary space alongside employees displaced by work on the One Allen expansion, Goodwin said. When the company has enough space in One Allen for the entire corporate population, it will release the Two Allen space, Goodwin said.

The increase in Motiva’s headcount is also the reason its renovating its wellness center, which was becoming congested during peak hours, Haloulos said.

Motiva employs a total of 2,300 employees right now, 700 of whom work at the headquarters, Goodwin said. Motiva’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery — the largest such facility in North America — employs 1,500 people, she said.

The company has first right of refusal on more space within the Allen Center buildings, Haloulos said. That gives it some flexibility as it expands, but that depends on the actions of the current occupants of the space, Haloulos said.

“As we look at our needs going forward, we may try to exercise those options,” Haloulos said. “We will be looking at that as time goes on.”

There’s also the possibility that it could pick up space elsewhere in Houston if there isn’t room in the Allen Center when Motiva needs it, “but we like it here in downtown Houston,” Haloulos said. “It’s very convenient for us, and our employees seem to like it.”

Motiva is a finalist in the Houston Business Journal’s 2019 Landmark Awards in the workplace interior category