Best Teardown: The Official 2010 Ballot

What was this year’s Best Teardown? That’s the second category in the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. And the official nominees are now in the (soon-to-be-demolished) house!

The voting rules for this year’s Swampies are posted here, but they’re not that complicated: You can vote for this category once each through each of 4 methods: in a comment below, in an email to Swamplot, on Twitter, or from Facebook. If you’ve got a favorite candidate, start a campaign! The polls close for all categories at 5 pm on December 27th.

The nominees for Best Teardown of 2010 are . . .


1. Candlelight Trails, 5500-5600 DeSoto. “The squatter-and-crime-filled complex was shut down by the city in 2007, but it took a lawsuit against 150 absentee owners of the festering 11-acre spread to get them to sign off on the demolition. When the demo finally began this September, Mayor Parker was thrilled to take her own whack at the place.”

2. National Flame and Forge and Foundation Steel and Wire, W. 25th and W. 26th Sts., Houston Heights. “The resulting 3 square blocks of dirt in the un-Historic northwest corner of the Heights might give developers fleeing the requirements of the new historic protection ordinance something to do.

3. 4221 Byron St., West University. “For a couple of weeks before its scheduled execution, the little house standing in the way of the Gami family’s new back yard became the latest West U fire department training site.”

4. 306 E. Friar Tuck, Sherwood Forest. “Let’s be clear: Strip-mall mogul Jerry J. Moore‘s Francophilic fantasy has not been demolished; only the legendary 26-car air-conditioned garage and a few “outbuildings” were torn down by the property’s new owners, who are now reportedly planning an extensive remodel of the home’s interior. But the low, low price the estate sold for earlier this year — $32 per sq. ft. of land, with the home thrown in for free — means the home qualifies for the ‘teardown’ title.”

5. Sheraton-Lincoln Hotel, 711 Polk St., Downtown. “The long-abandoned hotel once played host to the Beatles, but sits on valuable garage space and has just been getting in the way of things. Brookfield Office Properties bought the building in September and immediately announced plans to tear it down; the 28-story building blocks the southern views of office workers in Brookfield’s Total Plaza.”

6. Those Dusty Old River Oaks Mansions. 3394 Chevy Chase was designed by society architect Charles Oliver in 1928; 3401 Sleepy Hollow was the work of Birdsall Briscoe, 8 years later. But man, who designed the even-more-valuable land they sat on?”

7. 3613 Goodhope St., South Union. “The Johnson family’s original home won’t be much missed. But what other Houston demo was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition viewers around the world, and featured a corny sendoff roast starring comedians Ralphie May, Tommy Davidson, and George Rodriguez?”

8. Transmission Dome, 3420 Chimney Rock. “Yes, Virginia, Houston once did have a fabulous dome the whole city was proud of. I got my Chevy fixed there back in ’85.

9. Imperial Sugar Company, 198 Sugarland St., Sugar Land. “To build a new themed development celebrating the city’s history as a sugar-refining town, Johnson Development needed to get rid of that pesky old sugar refinery standing in the way. The implosion of the 2 metal structures next to the Char House has been put off probably until sometime next year. But excavators began ripping down other parts of the old sugar plant several months ago.

So . . . what’ll it be? Which one of these smashing contestants wins the year? Let’s hear your vote!

Photos: Jessica Michan (Mayor Parker), Swamplot inbox (Foundation Steel and Wire), HAR (Moore Estate, 3394 Chevy Chase, and 3401 Sleepy Hollow), CB Richard Ellis (Sheraton-Lincoln) Slampo (Transmission Dome), Flickr user mscottk (Imperial demo). Videos: Angela Grant, Instant News West U (Byron St.), ABC (roast)

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