City Loses Skirmish in Battle To Repair Central Square

Y’know this long-vacant 12- and 14-story office-building-and-parking-garage complex at 2100 Travis St. between Webster and Gray in Midtown — the one also known as “those Central Square Plaza buildings that somebody besides taggers ought to do something with”? Back in late 2009, the city ordered the owners to make a bunch of repairs within 60 days. What happened next? Owner Alfred J. Antonini filed suit to block the order; it’s been tied up in court ever since. Now 3 years later, Antonini has won the latest round in the ongoing tussle. An appeals court ruled this morning against the city’s claim that Antonini’s suit was invalid because he didn’t file it quickly enough. The case will go back to a lower court for more Midtown cleanup fun.

Photo: LoopNet

17 Comment

  • Slum lord?

  • Wow, didn’t take that long to throw me out of Park Memorial.

  • Superdave: You can be a slumloard with no tenants?
    That property costs him over $5k/month just in property taxes and who knows how much in holding costs, insurance, etc. If he’s a slumlord, he’s doing it wrong :)
    It’s another instance where I’m curious as to why *something* isn’t done with it. It can’t be converted to lofts? Offices? Or is this another 3400 Montrose where no one can touch anything without shouts of “low ceiling! Asbestos!”.
    My guess is the city wants the guy to take it from a 2 (out of 10 on the quality scale) to a 9 before he’s even allowed to open the doors. Since that’s cost prohibitive, it’s left as a 2. A net loss to everyone. Maybe the city should come up with ways to allow people to open these types of places up as a 7 rather than suing them and having these properties rot.
    Think “Perfect is the enemy of good” and you have my typical assumption as to why a place is vacant in an otherwise great area.
    But eh, as always, I could be wrong :)

  • If the city really want this to be developed, just condemn it mark it dangerous to the general public.

    It worked for the Wilshire Apts and the Park Condos.

    This is a situation where it would do some good.

    The structure is long past renovation.

  • kjb: Wonder why the current owner wouldn’t try (harder) to get it sold rather than sit there and rot. You’re totally right. The city could DB it and he’d be hosed. You’d think the owner would be more motivated eh? Or are there really 0 buyers?

  • @ Cody: This guy isn’t a visionary or a developer or even an activist investor. He’s just a passive speculator that believes that the property is worth more than anybody is willing to offer. He’s got a reputation as kind of an asshole, too.

    @ kjb: The structure would be worthy of renovation IMO, if the owner would sell it at a reasonable price, and I suspect that the City would roll out the red carpet for anybody that wanted to try.

  • I’ll never forget the underground parking at this dump after Allison. Sewage underground and garbage on top, the top being the building.

    Can we just hire the Late Night Pie guy to take care of this for us?

  • Someone really should do something with that site.

  • Proximity to Greyhound . . . I wouldn’t pay an exorbitant price for anything that close either. See: 2016 Main.

  • Swamplot scores another scoop! Kinda sad to see how the supposed Houston mass media doesn’t (or can’t) keep up with the latest in legal actions on stuff of real interest like this! Good job…

  • Anon is right. This really should be turned into something cool.

  • @TMTexas – I’m hearing that the Midtown & Downtown Mgmt districts are making another big push to get Greyhound & El Expresso to move.

  • I doubt it could really be renovated, at least not in a cost-effective manner. You can actually *smell* the building from across the street. It smells of mildew and rot. I’ve heard it is full of asbestos too.

    Here is what it looks like inside:

  • Priscilla: seeing those pictures makes me want to do something with the property even more. I think the place is awesome.

  • Great photos and love that door knob!

    Thanks for the link.

  • For anyone interested in following the renovation project of Central Square Midtown, follow us on twitter @CentralSquareTX, postings via twitter will have hashtags #cre #houston.

  • Looks like all those political signs are from the 1998 primary election. (or at least that’s what Google tells me)