Why This Former Gas Station and Duplex at the Corner of White Oak and Cortlandt Are Going Away

3500 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights Historic District South

3500 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights Historic District South

The owner of this 1930-ish former gas station and duplex bungalow at 3500 White Oak Dr. in the Houston Heights Historic District South plans to tear down the 2 structures and build a single-family home on the 8,800-sq.-ft. site — likely facing the side street, Cortlandt. Last week by a vote of 12 to 6 Houston’s planning commission reversed the decision of the archaeological and historic commission, allowing the demo to go through. The HAHC had denied the owner’s demolition request in November, insisting that the structures could be rehabbed. But experts hired by the owner indicated that the underground gas tank beneath the station couldn’t be removed without demolishing that structure, and that redevelopment of the duplex would be “cost prohibitive.”


3500 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights Historic District South

Attorney Tim Kirwin argued before the planning commission that demolition was authorized by the city’s historic preservation ordinance because the owner “suffered both an unusual or compelling circumstance as well as an unreasonable economic hardship.” The replacement structure will need to be approved by the HAHC.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

They’re History

16 Comment

  • Ah yes, the old gas station where Sam Houston’s forces filled up their F-150’s before driving on to San Jacinto and Santa Ana.

  • Actually the gas station Sam Houston used was the one at the corner of White Oak and Morrison….

  • Another reason the worthless HAHC needs to be abolished.

  • Dang I really wish the HAHC had forced the homeowner to rehab that gas station. It would make an excellent Chevron or Shell, maybe an Exxon! You could add an indian guy, a store full of candy bars and 40 oz beers, and it would be such a wonderful part of the neighborhood.

    Also, won’t somebody PLEASE think of the generic duplexes?

  • no… but maybe Bonnie and Clyde stopped in there!
    I find it fascinating to imagine this filling station in it’s prime.

  • Hope they like hot dogs…

  • It certainly must have been used by Howard Hughes.

  • It’s frustrating to instances of overzealous protection by HAHC. Bruising battles to save a derelict gas station of no particular architectural or historical significance undermine future efforts to save buildings of genuine historical significance. I live in a section of the Heights that is not covered by the historic district restrictions. Cute bungalows in good repair are being replaced by 4000+ sq ft monstrosities that suck character from the neighborhood. And yet, I would prefer all that to a board that can arbitrarily tell me what I can and cannot do to my property.

  • It’s unbelievable the property owner had to go to the time and expense for permission to improve this property. It will be a great day when Houston has seen the last of Annise Parker.

  • Tim is a neighbor of mine, and a fellow attorney who I’ve known for a few years. He does great work in this area, and was named Appellate Lawyer of the Week by Texas Lawyer magazine not too long ago for a very similar type of case. It makes sense to preserve some of these properties, but a fewof these historical district decisions make no sense.
    If you’ve got issues with historic districts, you would be hard pressed to find better.

  • @hamsterdam more proof UH continues to produce great lawyers.

  • Well, bye.

  • Air and water is free… We do make a charge for gas and well, that’s an extra $5/sqft in construction contingency. -Gomer

  • Bravo! The Planning Commission did the right thing. The area west of Oxford on White Oak is in the dry area of the Heights and residential use of the property is appropriate. And the house will probably be amazing. It’s too bad the residents near White Oak have to fight the fight with the likes of Revival trying to become a bar in that same area without appropriate parking. This is a residential neighborhood first and foremost.

  • I’m sure once this McMansion is built abutting White Oak, the owner will start to complain about all the bars and restaurants making noise and causing traffic/parking problems for him.

  • @bettingman Good catch. That location is really close to Christians tailgate and onion creek and that whole area is like Mardis Gra during white linen night in the heights. The new owner will have to enjoy that kind of thing or will hate living there. It will probably drive the value really high though bc it’s essentially like having a house on bourbon street during a major celebration