Second Category in the Swampies: Best Demolition of 2012

Earlier today, we introduced the first category in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, celebrating the best and most this city has to offer. And now nominations are open in a second category: Best Demolition.

Sure, demolitions are raw, physical acts, but emotional, historical, cultural, artistic, literary, sonic, and ecological aspects are often hard at work too. What property would you honor as Houston’s Best Demo of 2012 — and why?

If you’re like most people and have a little trouble remembering buildings once they’re gone, you can scroll through Swamplot’s archive of demolition stories to refresh your memory. Then add your thoughtful and well-argued nominations for this coveted award to the comments section below — or send them in a private message to Swamplot HQ. For a more thorough description of the nominating process, see these instructions.

Nominations for both award categories announced today will remain open until midnight this Sunday, December 9. But why wait until the last minute to submit your nominations? Couldn’t you knock a few out now?

32 Comment

  • I can’t remember if the old downtown Sheraton next to Total Plaza was torn down this year or last. If it was this year, that should definitely be added to the nominating list.

    Otherwise it should be any Heights bungalow torn down. I consider it an act of civil disobedience. Power to the people! death to the Historic District!

  • Historic medical center building demolition to ring in the new year. Atleast the mural was saved?

  • Muffin Man house…I still have no idea what that was all about, but thoroughly enjoyed the raunchy discussion about it.

  • My vote goes to the demolition that wasn’t, and by ‘demolition’ I mean the complete and total destruction of the Heights that failed to occur when the Walmart opened, when the I-10 feeder got built, or when Yale got repaved. (You know that decade-old I-10 project was all a conspiracy by Rick Perry to get Walmart to destroy the Heights, right?) All the Heights folks raised bloody hell, showing up at public meetings and hearings, shouting “The Heights will be DESTROYED!!!” “Property values will collapse!!!” all while secretly praying at night for God to get all Old Testament and thrust bus loads of children and old people down into the great chasm that will open up to Hell when the Yale Street bridge lets loose like Indiana Jones’ rope bridge to the Temple of Doom. Meanwhile, none of the hours-long standstill traffic emerged, property values are up by double-digit percentages (just ask HCAD), the trees on Yale are still alive, and all those assholes are buying Christmas presents at Walmart.

  • I vote for the soon-to-be-purged Ben Milam Hotel. Officially still standing today, but by Sunday it should be well classified as a demo.

  • The best (or maybe worst) demolition has been the removal of nearly all of the original homes in 77018. This certainly isn’t new to 2012, but definitely has ramped up in the past year. Oak Forest especially is left with very few originals between 43rd and Rosslyn. Take a drive down Wakefield sometime. It seems word has got out about our great little neighborhood and now everyone wants in – just with their own, lot-size, stucco exterior McMansion.

  • Heights Hype:

    I seriously doubt that long-term Heights residents buy their Christmas presents at Walmart. The Heights people I know rather craft or build their gifts.

  • I’d like to nominate 3640 Willowick, the $8.5 million dollar teardown in River Oaks. It takes the “lot value” concept to completely new level in Houston, by razing an Italianate mansion from the days before “Tuscan” was cool, so that the owner can have a few more bedrooms for the kiddos. Exemplifies Houston’s disposable housing culture like no other.

  • The Astrodome.

    oh wait, it’s still there.

  • All the Heights hate is hilariously dumb. Boo support for small business. Boo stewardship of the architectural character of a unique neighborhood in a sea of bland, cheap new builds. Boo anything that goes against the grain. Grow up.

  • Park Memorial Condos. The demo put a final end to a painful, slow-motion real estate disaster. The poor souls who at one point actually had to pay mortgages on a residence they could not occupy will no longer have to see the building sitting empty as a reminder of an “everything that could go wrong, did go wrong” real estate development. And the best part is that it dovetails nicely into the inevitable winner of the best design cliche, the pencil box multi-family apartment building that will replace the condos.

  • @larry the long term Heights residents are being pushed out by gentrification.

  • Does the Houston Chronicle qualify as a nomination?

  • Yep, 3640 Willowick, has my vote as teardown of the year. Easily, the biggest waste of money this town has ever seen.

  • I second the nomination for Park Memorial Condos for the following reasons: (1) it’s an actual demolition; (2) a long time in the making; (4) that serves as a classic real estate parable; and most importantly (5) it doesn’t have anything to do with the Heights. Heck, I live in the Heights and litigate for a living, but the constant mud slinging has gotten seriously old.

  • also, I evidently can’t number things properly today.

  • @ Old School: Is Park Memorial Condos the place where they found the human remains in the foundation? If so, I second that nomination. Nothing says “Swampies” like an unsolved murder.

  • big second for Park Memorial. it was kinda depressing seeing those vacant, smashed up condos languishing there for years.

  • I nominate rental me this…for demolishing the number 3. I predict of flood of tear downs on Sesame St once The Count hears about this.

  • I nominate Sara for the best post so far.

  • @jefe: That is the one. I was thinking about making a quip that the bones were the dissenting architect or engineer who tried to blow the whistle when the building was under construction, but remembered how crappy it was for all the poor folks who lost their shirts on their mortgages.

  • I vote for the Park Memorial tear-down soap opera because if it won I’d have an “award-winning” low credit score.

  • No question: the Harvin C. Moore masterpiece at 3640 Willowick.

  • 77018 is a tragedy of teardown, that and Willowick.

  • All the animal and plant habitat that is getting demolished to build the Grand Parkway (aka the super beltwayloop). Talk about building a highway right through the heart of the Katy prairie.

  • Good demolition: the rundown funeral home on Hyde Park Blvd.

    Bad demolition: all the tear downs in Oak Forest. It’s on its way in becoming the new West U – a once-pretty neighborhood now filled with ugly, gigantic houses built on lots too small for them.

  • It’s not down yet, but it might be by the time the swampies are awarded: Westcreek – aka, everyone’s first apartment inside the loop.

  • I’m surprised no one has said the Ben Milam hotel. I believed it is being demolished on the 9th.

  • Prudential. Mostly because they did actually save the mural and because it brought architectural preservation back into the discussion, however briefly. Still sad to drive by there and see it replaced by nothing much.

  • Willowick House. And the architects, curtis and wyndham, who were alledgedly complicit in the decision to destroy that home.

  • Ben Milam, hands down. Saw the implosion in person, it was amazing.