Iconic Texas brands, assemble! Hines continues its dominance in Greater Houston as it spearheads the development of Texas A&M University’s massive timber Aplin Center.

Buc-ee owner and Texas A&M alumnus Arch “Beaver” Aplin III donated $50 million to fund the building. This is one of the University’s largest single-donor gifts.

The newest centerpiece of the University City campus will be an education and recreation center designed by architecture firms DLR Group and Pickard Chilton. The latter is known for developing two of Houston’s largest corporate projects — the 1.3 million-square-foot Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Campus and ExxonMobil’s 365-acre Spring office complex.

The landscape architects’ design studio will transform the eight acres surrounding the building into an “inviting green space” at the intersection of Wellborn Road and John Kimbrough Boulevard.

Specific details, such as floor area, were not detailed, but construction is expected to begin in the fall.

“The Aplin Center will be a verdant oasis, preserving the ancient live oak and bringing together the main campus, west campus and Kyle Field,” said Anthony Markese, principal at Pickard Chilton. “We envision a warm and beautiful wooden Structural buildings that say ‘Hello!’”

The development is part of Hines’ sustainable mass timber building T3. The eco-conscious company aims to achieve net zero operational carbon by 2040.

The Aplin Center will create space for new programs in hospitality, retail research and food development for the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mays Business School. It will also feature retail and food service areas run by students and faculty.

Houston currently has The country’s largest large-scale wooden structure teaching buildingSan Jacinto College’s 122,000-square-foot Anderson-Ball building opened last August and was built by Houston-based Tellepsen.

Aplin, who is also chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in construction science in 1980 and opened the first Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson two years later. Buc-ee’s has grown into a one-stop shop for road trippers and a beloved Texas brand, with its beaver icon adorning everything from coffee mugs to bikinis.

Aggieland has been building new buildings as College Station has become a major player in the Texas Triangle. Minnesota-based Tailwind Group submitted a plan in April for a student housing complex, Campus Crossing College Station, which is expected to begin construction this summer. Meanwhile, Missouri-based Drury Southwest is building a Drury Hotel, which is expected to be completed next year.

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