John A. Harris, a pioneer in real estate development, died at age 76.
John A. Harris, a pioneer in commercial development around the world, died Nov. 8 at age 76. Harris, an executive vice president for Houston-based Hines, started the firm's conceptual construction group, which offered predevelopment services. Harris, an executive vice president for Houston-based Hines, started the firm's conceptual construction group, which offers predevelopment services.
"John's contributions to the firm are significant and his impact is evident in the built environment as a whole," says Gerald D. Hines. "He was a consummate professional who captured the respect of major architects, a great negotiator and a lover of great architecture and great buildings," he adds.
Harris was born on Aug. 26, 1932, in Denver and raised in Oklahoma City. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1954 with a B.S. in civil engineering. After college, he served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., until 1956. He moved to Houston in 1961.
Five years later, he was hired by Gerald D. Hines to oversee construction of his projects. Throughout his 42-year tenure with Hines, Harris directed preconstruction and construction phases of hundreds of the the firm's developments. This included design, budgeting, materials selection and purchase, and contract negotiations with architects, consultants and construction firms. Architects he worked with include Philip Johnson, Robert A.M. Stern, Frank Gehry, Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and William Pedersen of Kohn, Pedersen, Fox. Throughout his career with Hines, coworkers have used many words to describe Harris intelligent, imaginative, knowledgeable, tough, intimidating and honorable, says Hines in a press release.
Harris served on the Texas A&M's University College of Engineering's External Advisory and Development Council from 1994 to 1997. He was a guest lecturer at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Patricia L. Harris, seven children and nine grandchildren.