Finger Minute Maid Apartments To Hang Low, Cut Off Leftfield Block

A bit more detail on those new Downtown apartments developer Marvy Finger wants to build on the site of the Ben Milam Hotel designed in 1929 by architect Joseph Finger, a block beyond the leftfield fence of Minute Maid Park. The long-vacant hotel, which sits past the foul line at the corner of Texas and Crawford, is toast, Finger tells the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff. But the demo site will make up only a portion of the property.


Finger expects to close next month on contracts to buy the 2 adjacent blocks wrapped by Preston, Crawford, Texas, and La Branch. And he wants to shut down the block of Prairie St. that runs between them, by buying it from the city. Only a limited number of residents of the planned 380 units will likely get views of the Astros games from their apartments behind the Crawford boxes and the toy train, though; Finger says the structure he’s now planning will be 7 stories tall.

Photos: Bob Andrews, via Clem’s Baseball (left field), Flickr user NicoleH (hotel)

19 Comment

  • stop making super blocks.

  • I would love just once to get to tour one of those old abandoned buildings downtown before it’s demolished. Would be neat to see what remains, like architectural embellishments, old cargo elevators, light fixtures, etc. I would probably need an armed guard and a hard hat, though – or at least a big stick to poke the passed out bums.

  • another 380 units. brings total to over 10,000 new in montrose and midtown?

  • Agreed re: super blocks. However, this one has marginal impact because of the Minute Maid super block to its East.

  • Just a flash light, and good running shoes Dave, that’s all you need.

  • Wish it was taller at least 10 stories

  • Actually…Corey if youre going to examine an old abandoned structure – I would bring a gas monitor and some sort of respirator for particulate matter. An old unoccupied building can be a very dangerous place for gases and particulate matter to build up.

    -Forensics/Structural Engineer (who works on a lot of old structures)

  • Hieghts guy,

    Had the same thought, but it has to stop some where.

  • The old Ben Milam has an empty indoor pool that is very strange at night.

  • Glad to see residential FINALLY taking place adjacent to the ballpark, but would prefer it to not look like the Lofts at the Ballpark with 3 floors added on top. Marv took a gamble on One Park place and it paid off, so would like to see him roll the dice more on this project. Oh well, in this case, anything is better than nothing.

  • Agreed that we need more “super blocks” about as much as an aneurysm. Why is the Galleria area traffic such a cluster? Because they took the streets out. Why does downtown usually flow pretty well? Because they left the streets in, in a nice neat grid pattern that is only confusing if you try to get too hung up on true north, south, east, and west.

  • This is making me sick. Kocking down a this wonderful building, just to connect a few blocks to make one low lying building. I know we all got to make money, the development needs to make sence on paper. Its making me sick the city council and no body else has a way to find a way to make this project a money maker for Fingers, while still maintaining this wonderful structure.

  • The Ben Milam hotel is only 10 stories, and these old buildings tend to have low ceilings. A modern 7 story building might turn out just as tall, or at least very close.

  • I wonder what they will do with Prairie st, as it is a key access point to the stadium and strong view corridor. It would be an opportunity for a pedestrian walk-though, or plaza similar to the apartments under construction by Rice Village.

  • @Greg L; it makes me sick too my friends. We have to remember that H-Town is a developer city where no zoning and lack of stiff penalties or substantial protections for historical and culturally significant buildings exist. As an architectural designer and preservationist it really breaks my hart.

    Houston has a rich and and diverse architectural heritage that extends all the way back to when the Allen brothers founded it. In any other major city in the world these kind of structures are honored and
    revered. It would be possible to have creative vision and make use of Joseph
    Finger’s iconic early 20th century building.
    The developer could even get federal and state funds for historical rehabilitation to help offset cost. Unfortunately, this is not how developers in this town work. It is all speculation, anyone remember the 1920’s Robinson Warehouse? It was the original Sears & Robuck catalog headquarters for the entire southeast. What is there now? A big a** plot of vacant land on Allen Parkway for a project that was never built… way to go Houston!

  • I agree with the notion that tearing down historic buildings makes me sick. But what is currently proposed is better than an old abandoned building. Even if it was renovated, we still have a block and a half of surface parking to deal with.

    While it’s too bad that they are tearing down this building, I am very happy about having a couple less parking lots in downtown.

    What REALLY makes me upset is when they tear down historic buildings and replace them with nothing.

  • My Grandfather opened up his first office in Texas in the Ben Milam. I will be very sad to see it go. I have been hoping for years that it would be rejuvenated, but this is just Houston for you. Lacking creativity as usual. I would love to get a tour of the inside and see what the building still looks like. I am with you SuperDave!!!

  • Here’s hoping the request to shut down that one block of Prairie is denied. Actually, we don’t need to lose any more streets in the downtown area. Aside from the vista that would be lost, there is the problem with post-game traffic in the area. Removing another street will just accentuate the post-game gridlock. I live downtown and the congestion created from the rail line construction, the constant underground utility work, and the positioning of huge cranes in the streets is sufficiently inconvenient without adding to it by removing streets completely.

  • Put a public bar on top w/views!