County Commissioners Hold Off on Repairs to Downtown’s Soggy Criminal Justice Skyscraper

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HOLD OFF ON REPAIRS TO DOWNTOWN’S SOGGY CRIMINAL JUSTICE SKYSCRAPER The County Commissioners were set to approve repairs to the chronically wet Harris County Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday when District Attorney Kim Ogg — who occupies the building along with her 735 employees — convinced them to tap the brakes, calling it “unseemly . . . that we would be spending $14 million when we still don’t know the cause of the flooding.Writing in November, the Houston Chronicle‘s Brian Rogers blamed it on: “unprecedented amounts of standing water,” that “seeped into the underground walls” of the building even though its flood gates remained secure. But he noted that some county officials believe there were “multiple sources,” of water and remained unsure about how it all got in. The 18-year-old building at 1201 Franklin St. partly reopened in June. The repairs that the commissioners had planned to authorize this week included fixes to its elevator shafts and parts of floors 2 through 20. (They suffered damage when the electronics in the basement — dampened by floodwaters — malfunctioned, sending gallons of water through the building’s anti-flood pumping system, which ironically, burst pipes and flooded the upper stories.) Following up on Ogg’s remarks, County Engineer John Blount raised the possibility of building a new criminal justice building from scratch. The estimated cost he gave for doing so: $430 million. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Harris County

4 Comment

  • Wait a second here. Who put building electronics in a basement in the first place? Put “emergency” generators in the same place? Slow learners?

  • I had to go there omce a month for two years. They literally had a cop stuff people into the elevators and never any soap or paper towels in the bathrooms. Highly recommend the breakfast sandwiches if you have to be there anyways.

  • Whoa. So, this relatively brand-new building (paid for through a bond vote) is prone to mystery water intrusions and a malfunctioning anti-flood pump system that actually spewed the floodwaters to upper floors through burst pipes?
    Then, the county engineer wants to talk about building a new one from scratch for $430 million? Nuts, I tell you. The county is light-years better at projects than the city but this is one heck of an albatross.

  • I don’t understand. How is it even possible that this wasn’t an insurable event?