Harris County and the trailblazing Buffalo Bayou Partnership will soon clear the way for a new trail segment on the south side of the bayou by demolishing the vacant 1119 Commerce Building warehouse along with portions of the inmate processing center to its east. Pictured above, 1119 Commerce St. spans the width between San Jacinto St. and the Fannin St. bridge at which the existing trail terminates. Harris County Flood Control district bought the building in 2010 as part of its efforts to smooth out that sharp oxbow where White Oak and Buffalo bayous meet and allow more water to flow through Downtown.
But a lot of that water ended up flowing through the building itself, dampening its below-street levels on at least 4 occasions since the county’s purchase. The year after a 2015 checkup found that the structure’s lower-level steel columns were “95 percent rusted,” the flood control district axed its lease with former tenant Quiznos in preparation to bring down the 94-year-old house, originally built for the Texas Packing Company.
After the trail takes over the lot occupied by the not-yet-demolished building, it’ll butt up next against the adjacent Harris County Inmate Processing Center at 1201 Commerce:
It’s viewed here from the east up above the bayou. On the left side of the photo, you can make out the end of the windowless sally port that plugs into it from the jailhouse on the opposite side of the waterway. East of that hookup, red lines indicate a corridor where some jailbreaking will clear a path for the new right of way planned to continue beneath the structure.
Here’s what the building looks like from its more often seen Commerce St.-side:
Beyond it lies a row of surface parking lots where the trail is planned to continue on its way toward 59.