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 Chronicleâ€™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,Â 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 childrenâ€™s shelter considered for downtown Houston [Houston Chronicle ($)]