Peeling Panels on the Downtown Melrose Building Hint at the Le Meridien To Come

Melrose Building, 1121 Walker St., Houston, 77002

After more than 2 decades of abandonment, the Melrose Building at 1121 Walker is getting some TLC: a total makeover as part of conversion of the building to a Le Meridien hotel. Permits were issued the week of Thanksgiving to begin a complete overhaul of the interior; the exterior will receive an update as well.

The remodel will attempt to restore the youthful good looks of Houston’s oldest Modern skyscraper — as shown in the rendering below, the renovation will bring back the building’s original color scheme:


Rendering of Le Meridien, 1121 Walker St., Houston, 77002

The turquoise ceramic tiles beneath the windows were covered up by colored aluminum panels in 1969. Some of those original tiles can already be spotted in a few places where the panels are missing:

Melrose Building, 1121 Walker St., Houston, 77002

The Melrose building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September; the architects, Hermon Lloyd and W. B. Morgan, later worked on the Astrodome with Wilson, Morris, Crane & Anderson.

Rendering: Development Services Group; photos: Swamplot Inbox



Going Retro

7 Comment

  • I’m looking forward to following this renovation along with the Aloft a block north. Good times for new hotels in downtown.

  • I’m so excited about this project. Glad to see them refurbishing the building and even more excited to see SOMETHING happening with it, be it demolition or rehab.

    With this one getting new life, does that just leave us with the Days Inn and Battlesteins as the only abandoned buildings downtown? And I guess the Exxon Building but I can’t imagine that Shorenstein is going to sit on that for a particularly long time.

  • Is the public toilet (that is really just a port-a-potty with a screen around it) on the sidewalk on the Walker st. side of this building going to be incorporated into the new design? The homeless really seemed to enjoy loitering around there. I pass by there every morning on my way to work and really enjoy seeing the circus of belligerent meth-fueled street yelling and daily arrests.

  • Always amazing to me that such an expensive property can sit there and rot for years. Such a huge property tax bill. I’d be calculating how much it cost me to hold (not even considering debt service, or, if owned in cash, opportunity cost) on a per day basis and it would cause me not to sleep at night.

  • A homerun. This building really stands out in an otherwise vibrant area. I like the renovation, the exterior look has an interesting retro feel.

  • @ Cody: You’re square on the money with that comment about property taxes. There was a string of litigation over the building’s fate and I don’t want to get into it, but it was the property taxes that set everything in motion.

    That being said, I’ve looked at this building real hard, been inside it, witnessed the various issues, and sincerely wonder how the economics of this project work out. The best case that I could work out at the time was demolition-by-crane to get at the land. The biggest obstacle to any attempt at adaptive re-use was acquiring rights to offsite parking.

  • I just realized that this new hotel would be practically sitting on the intersection of the new Green Line and the Red Line, and is only a block or two away from several Main Street eateries and nightlife. If this isn’t a prime location for a downtown hotel, then I don’t know what is.