Inside the facility at 419 Emancipation that federal contractor Southwest Key Programs plans to use as a detention center for immigrant children, vestiges of the structure’s homeless-shelter past remain untouched. Christian nonprofit Star of Hope decked out the hallway of the smaller, 13,222-sq.-ft. building shown in the foreground of the aerial at top with both Old and New Testament scenes during its time on-site. It sold the property between Preston and Prairie streets in 2016 and moved into a bigger shelter on Reed Rd. near Hwy. 288.
In March, the complex wrapped up a 5-month stint as a temporary housing facility for 300 single adults displaced by Harvey. Its current owner (an entity tied to Dave Denenburg, the most recent renovator of Schlumberger’s former headquarters a quarter mile south) then leased it to Southwest Key, a nonprofit that operates facilities for unaccompanied minors in Texas. The organization plans to house as many as 240 children from infants to 17-year-olds inside — although most of the kids will be under 12, reports the Chronicle’s Lomi Kriel. That would make it “the first residential center in the nation detaining such small children without their relatives or other foster parents,” she writes.
A site plan shows how the 2 buildings sit on their 2-acre parcel, 3 blocks from BBVA Compass:
A courtyard including a playground and picnic tables separates the 2 structures:
It’s bisected by a covered walkway that links both buildings together:
That’s the smaller structure in the photo above, which views it from the west. Upon crossing through its entrance adjacent to the outdoor staircase shown below . . .
you’re greeted by these well-known characters:
They front a central hallway that runs roughly north-south. Head right and you’ll reach this pair of multipurpose rooms on the southwest side of the building:
A few office spaces sit off the hall on your way there, adjacent to some more holy holdovers:
At the opposite end of the corridor, there’s an even bigger flexible space ready to be overrun with juveniles:
Two rooms on this floor of the building are currently in use as storage spaces:
Upstairs, the main hallway overlooks the first floor entrance corridor, off-camera below the wall on the right:
Around the corner is where the courtyard’s outdoor staircase leaves you:
There’s also this plush space on the opposite side of the floor:
You can conduct your own virtual tour of the building here thanks to the owner’s use of Matterport, a 3D imaging technology used to show off interior spaces.
Harrisburg Blvd. abuts the its southeast-parking-lot side:
(The road undergoes a name change to Prairie St. as it heads west past the property toward Emancipation.)
In addition to the barbed wire fence shown above, there’s also video surveillance and a “security guard shack” on-site, according to the listing for the property.
Then there’s the 3-times larger, 40,425-sq.-ft. west building on the corner of Emancipation:
Inside, 80 bedrooms with 4 beds each are able to sleep 300 total:
A few of its other key features: 4 commercial laundry facilities, a computer lab, and commercial kitchens. The facility is up-to-date on all of its permits — according to public works spokesperson Alanna Reed — including a food service establishment certificate that allows it to provide meals in-house.
Here’s its first-floor lobby, which also functions as an auditorium:
Intake rooms provide spaces for private meetings:
There’s also a on-site health clinic:
- 419 Emancipation Ave. [LoopNet]
- 419 Emancipation Ave. [Matterport]
- Immigrant children’s shelter considered for downtown Houston [Houston Chronicle ($)]