Mayor Parker, after a stint behind the controls of JTB Services’ excavator at yesterday’s demolition of the Candlelight Trails condominium complex north of Tidwell:
My most fun day yet as Mayor. Make all the jokes you want. I operated a giant backhoe as we demolished an abandoned property off Antoine!
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CANDLELIGHT TRAILS IS GOING DOWN The demolition of the 11-acre Candlelight Trails empty-condos-and-crime site could begin as early as today. Officials at city hall tell 11 News reporter Sherry Williams that a judge approved the demolition of the abandoned complex — in the 5500 and 5600 blocks of DeSoto, off Antoine north of Tidwell — this morning: “The city recently sued about 150 of the condo owners to get them to sign off on the demolition. Some of those lawsuits added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. . . . ‘As long as they agree to sign over their title to the city, then we’re not going after them for money,’ said Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones. ‘It’s really sad that they bought into a place where the people who ran it absconded with their money, but I’m thankful that we are not further, I don’t know, kicking them while they’re down.’” Update: The demolition is now scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm, according to the Near Northwest Management District. [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Matt Stiles
REGISTERED AGENTS FOR CONDOS A bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature — inspired by problems encountered in contacting the 150 separate owners of Candlelight Trails in northwest Houston — would make it a whole lot easier for the city to demolish decrepit condo complexes. “The bill by Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, applies only to Houston. It requires every condo development to maintain a registered agent to accept service of legal papers; if any development fails to do so, the Texas secretary of state automatically becomes the agent. The law will take effect Sept. 1 if Gov. Rick Perry signs it or allows it to become law without his signature. Perry will review the measure carefully before deciding, spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said. Current law requires each owner to be served either in person or through a legal notice in a newspaper. Defendants served through publication have two years to file a motion for a new trial. ‘It is extremely time-consuming, expensive and allows the substandard and often dangerous conditions to continue while the city struggles to obtain personal service on each owner,’ Ann Travis, Mayor Bill White’s governmental affairs director, said in a background document explaining the bill.” [Houston Chronicle]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: CANDLELIGHT TRAILS, DIMMED “My family lived there for 17 years (1985-2001) and we watched this place transform from a luxury conodo complex into a complete waste. We frequently revisitied the complex on several occaisions and it stayed just about the same from the late 1980s until now. The danger of living there really showed its true colors when we went onto the abandoned property last January and discovered a murder scene in our old condo. For many reasons I want this place torn down, but for the most reasons, I don’t want this place down mainly because that used to be my home and where I grew up and seeing it go into the ground might be too much of a sight to bear on my part. Despite this, I rest easily knowing that the complex will never be torn down because it was one of those ‘take action for a day and feel good about it but forget about it the next day’ types of situations so there is no doubt in my mind that the buildings will remain standing as long as I live.” [John, commenting on Lights Out for Candlelight Trails?]
City building officials closed down the Candlelight Trails condo complex in northwest Houston 14 months ago, citing substandard living conditions. But neighbors have still been complaining about squatters and crime. Now the Chronicle‘s Matt Stiles reports that city attorneys have filed a lawsuit asking a judge to allow them to demolish it:
the complex technically is a condominium property, so the city has to sue 150 owners to get authority to tear the property down. The City Council is set to vote this week to hire a law firm for those cases.
Candlelight Trails sits on 11 acres in the 5500 and 5600 blocks of DeSoto, off Antoine north of Tidwell.
Photo of Candlelight Trails: Matt Stiles