TRICON HOMES STILL TRASHING THE JOSEPHINE Demolition crews turned the Josephine Apartments into a dusty pile of rubble yesterday (as seen in Swamplot’s on-the-spot report), but Tricon Homes cofounder Tristan Berlanga threw in a little trash-talking of his own about the condition of the 2-story Art Moderne complex, which went down in a heap, original steel-frame windows and all: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition which would have been practically impossible to save, both for safety and economic reasons,” he says to the Chronicle’s Erin Mulvaney. He goes on to tell the reporter he doesn’t like to see buildings demolished, especially those with “architectural or historical significance,” but appears to lay blame for the building’s demise on a lack of city regulation: “Most cities have zoning laws and designated historical areas that help preserve buildings like this,” he says. “Without that, it is hard to do more . . .” Tricon plans to replace the 8-unit building from 1939 with 4 new townhomes, which are still being designed. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox
“..which are still being designed.” That’s funny! Let’s see, the same vertical mobile home they ALL build.
Sad but true. Our lukewarm attitude towards historic preservation makes tearing down and building new the only economically profitable option. It’s painful to see strangely-massed, gauche construction sweep away the less ostentatious structures of yesteryear, and replace them with a discordant jumble of elevations. For someone who rejects the notion that we must maximize our living quarters and material possessions, every demolition represents one fewer opportunity to live in housing that is human in scale, maintainable by oneself, and that actively discourages the human tendency to fill all available space with as much crap as we can lay our hands on. This vernacular architecture of choice says, “Houston, we may be ugly, but we can afford to own a lot of stuff, see how big my house is?”
Further proof that irony is dead: The guy who is in the process of tearing down a historic building laying blame on the City for failing to prevent him from tearing down the historic building.
Just more ass-clown developer drivel.
Max- They have not decided if they want the white stucco or the beige, red tile roof or grey tile. And most importantly if they want the peel and stick limestone or granite trims. So yeah, still being designed. They are also trying to figure out where to put each of the 30+ different size and style windows they got off the salvage rack at Habitat.
Uh, the City does have historic districts. There are four different historic districts just down the street from the poor late Ms. Josephine.
I am coming to appreciate Terry Fisher a bit more when I here this kind of BS from builders. Just come out and say you do not give a rats ass about historic architecture and will knock down any building you can get your hands on to build more town homes.
Yeah, I am sure Tricon had a team of historic renovation experts out at the Josephine desperately trying to find a way to save the building from demolition. I am sure if they were presented with a petition to create a historic district that included the Josephine they would have happily signed and help distribute yard signs in the neighborhood seeking support.
Let’s be real for a moment here. Berlanga can spin it any way he wants to but his Tricon website (which is also contradictory between its ambitions and photos of recently sold properties) tells a different story. Tricon….” has garnished a reputation for their versatile designs which integrate the prevalent architectural styles of the area into the exterior design”., Yet the same white stucco faux modern facade (surrounded by hardiplank) has been spotted in throughout Rice Military, Cottage Grove, Galleria area and several developments in the Museum Park area. So as others have already noted, which of the limited Hollywood set facades will be pulled out of hat to “integrate” in the neighborhood? Whatever Heather!
“..which are still being designed.” This is laughable. Tricon has 2 designs…white stucco rectangle and brick rectangle. What a waste.
Developer Speak: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition which would have been practically impossible to save, both for safety and economic reasons,”
Translation: “This, in fact, was a building in very poor structural condition” means, “my brother-in-law is an electrion and he said the wiring was old”. “Practically impossible to save” means, “I don’t want to hire someone to figure this out when I already have townhouse plans I paid for 5 years ago”. “For safety and economic reasons”, means, “old electrical + existing paid for plans = making more money”
Developer Speak: ” he doesn’t like to see buildings demolished, especially those with “architectural or historical significance,” but appears to lay blame for the building’s demise on a lack of city regulation: “Most cities have zoning laws and designated historical areas that help preserve buildings like this,” he says. “Without that, it is hard to do more . . .”
Translation: “I’m not responsible for my actions….I was forced to do this because the City made me by not forcing me to save it”.
We’ve heard it all before.
Designed equals: Stack three shoe boxes vertically, slather in stucco, build as cheaply as earthly possible, then ask $400-500K; actually given the neighborhood 750K wouldn’t be unlikely.
if more profit could be made by restoring this structure, then of course he would have done it. this builder, however, did not want to spend more money to rehab an aging structure when he would get less return. it is hard to argue with that logic. i suspect if this was in a historical district, then it would have continued to rot away for several more years before anything happened.
for what it’s worth, i think Rice should have bought the apartments and either continued to rent them or demolish them, either way with a goal of simply holding the land. if i were the university, i would be buying every piece of reasonably priced land that becomes available within a block or two of the school, but especially in an area that apparently is not deed restricted.
I have a friend who was one of the people who had to move. For what’s it worth, she said the buildings had not properly maintained in years.
You can rail against what Tricon builds and I have not problem with that. However I lived in a Tricon 3-story shoebox for 5 years and I actually thought the house seemed to be built well and I had no real problems with it. IMHO they are a step up from all the Urban Homes construction as far as quality.
Best of luck with your stucco monstrosity, I mean that genuinely.
Yeah….right, Tristan, you might want to go bank and take a PR course, that was complete Bullshit and everyone knows it, that building could have easily been rehabbed, give me a fucking break.
Shannon – as much as I hate to admit it, you’re right: Tristan most assuredly needs a PR lesson. But he owns the property, is operating within the current regulatory scheme and has every right to legally redevelop it as he sees fit. If you feel so impassioned about it, then use your energy in a more constructive fashion: buy properties like this one yourself and rehab them! Put your money where your mouth is! Regardless, grow up, quit being so imbecilic and learn to express yourself in a mature and civilized fashion if you want to be taken seriously by those of us who might otherwise be willing to listen to folks like you…