Over the years, Killeen has steadily grown both outward and upward. And while many of Killeen’s oldest buildings were built over 40 years ago, they remain staples in the Killeen skyline, competing for height and giving a sense of stability in so transient a region.
The addition of the new First National Bank Texas Headquarters on Trimmier Road has sparked the Herald to investigate the whether it has claimed the prize of “tallest building in Killeen.”
The following are the winners and runners-up of the tallest building competition for Killeen, and while there is no prize other than potential bragging rights, It’s always nice to take a step back and appreciate some of the notable additions to the city’s storied history.
Unfortunately, while Killeen is closely connected to Fort Hood, the following list will only include buildings fully within the limits of Killeen, which will disbar the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport that lies just beyond city limits, as well as the Fort Hood-based Darnall Army Medical Center.
Placing first, and continuing to hold the title of tallest building in Killeen, is AdventHealth’s medical facility, which was formerly Metroplex.
The structure on Clear Creek Road stands at 96 feet and 9.5 inches at its tallest point, as part of its Heart and Vascular Center, according to Tom Riddle, director of facilities management for AdventHealth.
AdventHealth, or Metroplex as it was called before January 2019, was originally constructed in 1978, and while there are about 12 acres of land bounded by Metroplex Loop that are still available for development, vertical potential is limited.
Riddle mentioned that the road surrounding the hospital would “probably need to be reconfigured” once lateral expansion plans had been determined.
According to Riddle, the hospital cannot go any higher than its current tower. However, the Ambulatory Surgery Center still has room to expand.
“The Ambulatory surgery center is designed for 3 floors, while only one floor has been built out,” Riddle wrote.
A newcomer to the Killeen skyline and coming in a fairly close second is the new corporate headquarters for the First National Bank Texas, located opposite Red Lobster at Trimmier and East Central Texas Expressway.
According to Jessica Pelache, director of Customer Experience for First National, the new building will stand at 82 feet and 8 inches tall after completion, placing it just a touch under the reigning champion.
The new building, which began construction last year under the contract of SLI Group Inc., will feature a red brick exterior with large glass windows and expects to open late this year.
“To date we are approximately 60% of the way to completion,” Pelache said. “We are excited to celebrate our 120th year in business with the Killeen community.”
The new building has experienced many weather delays such as the higher than average rainfall Killeen has experienced over the past few weeks, as well as Winter Storm Uri.
Finally, the runners up, according to Emporis, which is a building information service, for Killeen’s tallest building are a tie between what was recently the Red Lion and the Courtyard by Marriott.
Both hotels come in at around 73 feet, six stories, and were constructed in the late ’80s. Unfortunately, neither Red Lion nor Marriott representatives were able to be reached for comment regarding the height of their buildings, but it is safe to say that both structures are signature staples in the city skyline.
While the former Red Lion may now be hidden behind the elevated and outward-facing First National Bank Headquarters, it is certainly possible that its peaked roof may lend it those crucial last few inches to beat out the Courtyard’s flat roof. Without more concrete numbers from Oyo Hotels, which now owns Red Lion, as well as Marriott, the ultimate winner of these two contenders will remain unresolved for now.
And while the Courtyard and the Red Lion duke it out for 3rd place, much of the rest of Killeen’s skyline is also made up of hotels, staples like One Killeen Center on CTE, and of course the Killeen water tower.
However, as critics are quick to point out, Killeen quickly loses out to Temple with its 14-story Kyle Hotel, and 10-story Extraco Bank.
Though Killeen may appear to squat in the distance from atop Nolanville Hill, what onlookers will miss is Killeen’s own, rich history, the beautiful Central Texas countryside that surrounds much of the city, its diverse restaurants, and of course, the people.
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