Catty-corner to the soon-to-be aerated Spaghetti Warehouse building on Commerce St., its 2-story brick neighbor between Travis and Milam has a similar plan for dealing with its own floody first floor: get rid of all downstairs law offices and replace them with parking. Currently, the decades-old Abraham Watkins Building is bookended by 2 surface parking lots to the east and the west (pictured above). By filling in the gap between them with 14 more spots, the owner hopes it’ll no longer have to keep repairing the decades-old place like its done at least once yearly for the past 4 years, according to an application it filed this month. (Personal injury firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz has managed to stay safe in the building throughout that time, though staff retreated to the top floor after Harvey.)
Houston’s historic commission approved that application yesterday, clearing the way for this new garage door to crop up on Commerce in place of the center storefront panel as shown below:
Two iron gates will go in place of the glass windows on either side of it. Other than that, the exterior of the building won’t change much.
A few peripheral storage spaces will remain downstairs, as shown in the site plan below:
And the lobby will let out to the surface parking lot fronting Travis St.:
Way back before the law firm arrived at 800 Commerce in 1971, the building was consolidated from 2 separate but adjacent structures. The smaller Siewerssen Building went up first in 1894 on the west side of the block and functioned as a meat market. Eleven years later, the Dickson Building was tacked onto its neighbor’s east side.
- Historic Building for a Historic Texas Personal Injury Law Firm [Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz]
Images: Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission
In the meantime, can someone please put a mural on that god-awful concrete wall on the parking garage behind it? It really ruins taking shots of downtown from that angle now.
I agree Triton. That wall is calling for another Anat Ronen masterpiece!
Murals on the parking garage and mural on the Abraham Watkins building as well. That would set them apart!