Excavators have begun clawing at the ballroom that sits behind the La Colombe d’Or hotel’s main building on the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Harold St. — in order to make way for a new apartment tower. Demolition began on the structure formally and formerly known asÂ Le Grand Salon de la Comtesse in late January after portions of its rococo interiorÂ — including oak paneling, gold-framed mirrors, and chandeliers — were catalogued, extracted, and shipped to an offsite storage facility by teardown crews.
That’s just about the reverse of how those interiors got there in the first place. La Colombe d’Or owner Steve Zimmerman bought the furnishings — crafted in the 1730s for members of the French royal family — in 1995 from the son of oilman John Mecom Sr., who’d kept them stored in a blimp hangar he owned at the former Hitchcock Naval Air Station of Hwy. 6. He’d been stockpiling other French home goods (including one of Marie Antoinette’s bathrooms) for more than 30 years. Once Zimmerman got ahold of the decor, he built the less pedigreed stucco structure at 3410 Montrose Blvd. behind the hotel building where the items served as a backdrop for weddings, corporate functions, and the occasional speech.
In this view of the neighboring 30-story apartment tower now known as the Hanover Montrose (previously 3400 Montrose), the Colombe d’Or and its ballroom can be seen at the bottom left:
Zimmerman plans to partner with Hines and TH Real Estate to build the new 34-story tower on the west side of the block where it will back up to Yoakum behind the hotel. A courtyard separating the new building from the hotel will be shared by inhabitants of both structures. The same goes for the pool planned for a deck outside the apartment’s 10th floor. In addition to its 285 units, 15 hotel rooms will also lodge in the new structure.
Before its reincarnation as temporary housing, the Colombe d’Or’s hotel building was the full-time residence of Humble Oil co-founder Walter Fondren and his wife Ella. Zimmerman bought the building soon after her death in 1982.
Here it is fronting Montrose before its awning turned green, with theÂ Hanover tower in progress next door to it:
- Historic La Colombe d’Or ballroom will make way for Hines’ next Montrose high-rise [Houston Chronicle]