The Williams Tower is a skyscraper located in the Uptown District of Houston, Texas. It was designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee, in association with Houston-based Morris Architects (formerly Morris-Aubry Architects), and erected in 1983. The tower is among Houston's most visible buildings. The building is the 4th-tallest in Texas, the 22nd-tallest in the United States, and the 102nd-tallest building in the world. It is the tallest building in Houston outside of Downtown Houston, and at the time of its construction was believed to be the the world's tallest skyscraper outside of a central business district. The building has the United States headquarters of the Hines Interests real estate firm.
Hines Interests LP was the original developer of the tower. In 2008, an affiliate of Hines purchased the Williams Tower for $271.5 million. The building was offered along with the parking garage, a 2.3 acres (0.93 ha) tract across the street from the Williams Tower, and a 48% stake in the Williams Waterwall and the surrounding park; Hines had already owned the other 52% of the waterwall.
In 2002, Ryan John Hartley climbed the Williams Tower unharnessed and jumped from the 30th story committing suicide. He had on him a political note that did not detail if it was his intention to jump.
The building was originally named for its major tenant, Transco Energy corporation. The name stayed on the building until 1999 after Hines, the building's owner, agreed to change the name of the building some four years after Transco was bought by Williams in 1995. The building once again bears the name of its major tenant, the Williams energy company, which is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even after the name change, the building is often referred to as "the Transco" by long-time Houston residents. In the spring of 2008, Hines again purchased the Tower for 300 million. It is insured at 500 million.