Midtown Kirby Mansion Sold to Midtown Car Dealership Owner

The Tudor-revival mansion that sits along the bend in I-45 at 2000 Smith St. has been sold to the owner of several car dealerships, including Central Houston Nissan on the S. Loop off the S. Main/Buffalo Spdwy. exit and Central Houston Cadillac off McGowen St. between Travis and Main. Prior to the closing earlier this month, Preservation Houston reported that the buyer didn’t plan to keep the house standing.

Nine blocks away from it, the new owner Ricardo Weitz also has all 3 of the parking lots that surround his Cadillac dealership to the north, east, and west. He purchased the mansion through an entity he owns called Central Houston Auto Properties II.

Photo: Preservation Houston/The Heritage Society

The House off I-45

25 Comment

  • Houston, your lack of historic preservation is simply grotesque. Shame to the new owner. A very inappropriate area for a car dealership.

  • God forbid we have one beautiful, architectural bit of history standing.

  • That slate tile roof would cost a small fortune if it had to be replaced.

  • Shame on both the seller and the buyer!

  • dbhou,

    You’ve still the Astrodome.

  • While not too surprising that this mansion will be demolished for a car plaza, this just is just a rational move – the land is going to the highest economic use. In its current state, it probably wasn’t generating enough income to pay for upkeep and property taxes (e.g. money pit).

  • This is an unfortunate use of the land in Midtown. Especially if the pierce elevated goes away within the next decade. I think I’d be able to reconcile the demolition of this building, if something nice took its place. but A car dealership? Seriously? What we’ll get is a 2 story office building, surrounded by 85 percent surface lot. Unfortunate. I didnt even think the car dealerships in Midtown were that profitable.

  • Bad neighbor! BAD NEIGHBOR!

  • Unbelievably disappointing, but not surprising. Appears Houston will never change.

  • @Jmat – I am savoring the irony of that statement.

    And while I can understand the general lament re the loss of a grand old house, the disdain for the seller and buyer is unfair. Especially when they lack any rational alternative suggestions.

  • Never underestimate the potential for your city to SUCK!

  • I want to know what Ed Emmett thinks.

  • priorities folks, this ain’t it

  • joel – how about you set your own priorities and I’ll set mine

  • @joel
    What are you, the priority police?

    You can turn in your gun and badge,

  • I’m so filled with rage that someone didn’t do what I wanted them to do with that property!

  • @clou – agreed…up until the point your priority is asking my bankrupt city to spend more money on non-essential services

  • Shame.
    Preservationists always hear, “If you love it so much why don’t you buy it!?”
    Well I can’t afford to. I did not invent the iPhone or even the Snuggie.
    I’m busy with the life that sustains me and I have a BIG problem with the concept that whoever has the most money wins and gets to do whatever he/she wants.
    We live in a society of Laws and Houston needs a lot more of them in this particular area.

  • I just hope they use it for the Cadillacs, not the Nissans. It would be a shame to lose a structure like that for anything less than Cadillac style.

  • They LEAST these new greedy owners can do is dismantle this home piece by piece and GIVE it to those who care about our city’s history and quality building materials. However, in true Houston fashion, I imagine we’ll find all the hand cast brick, old growth 2×4’s, 500 year strong slate roof, and hand forged windows in a landfill nearby. Houston definitely needed another car dealership. I hated having to drive 5 whole minutes down 288 to get to the other 30 dealerships. Hurrah! Smh.

  • @movocelot

    What law would you propose that would solve this problem?

  • re: what law do you propose (to save the Kirby Mansion)?

    How about a moderately creative refashioning of eminent domain? Public purpose: Historic Preservation, tourism. It’s not like our appellate courts don’t revise the (case)law on a regular basis. And perhaps the local jurists will be sympathetic, what with such a gigantic amount of public money having gone into fixing up the 1910 Harris County courthouse and restoring it to its original unmodern condition. (it’s now populated by two courts of appeals, rather then than the much more numerous civil courts, including the eminent domain/government takings courts, which moved to the modern high-rise).

    Or just have TxDoT re-route the Pierce Elevated replacement or exit ramp over the property and have the mansion rolled over to Sam Houston Park or gentrifying EaDo, which still has plenty of empty lots, to make room for the new roadworks. That won’t even take any creative lawyering.

  • movocelot: A law that says you can’t demo your home? Any home or only some? Does it have to be over x years old? Who makes these decisions? Do you really want to give politicians this power?
    I’ll always default to people doing what they want with their own stuff as being better than the people I’ve seen in government trying to make those decisions for us. Even if it means sometimes things get built that are different than I’d like to see, or properties get torn down that I happen to like.

  • That is just a such cozy place to knock down? Why don’t they just rent out the rooms as offices or make it a bed and breakfast. Why another car dealership. Seriously, doubt any one is going to buy a Mazda or Cadillacs during their lunch breaks.

  • That man should be ashamed of himself. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of Houston history in the city and he’s going to tear. it. down to put in a @#$%^^! car dealership. I hate to wish bad things on people, but I sure hope his business gets some kharma that is undoubtedly going to be coming his way.