Will 3400 Montrose Rise from the Dead?

WILL 3400 MONTROSE RISE FROM THE DEAD? On assignment a couple of months ago to document the office building at 3400 Montrose that once housed Scott Gertner’s Skybar, photographer Patrick Bertolino wrote that the 10-story vacant structure across Hawthorne St. from Kroger reminded him “of what a building might look like after a zombie apocalypse, minus the zombies.” But, um, zombies always come back, don’t they? And now here’s a hint that something might be stirring: Workers were giving the parking structure behind the building a new coat of paint yesterday, reports Swamplot picture-snapper Candace Garcia. Photo evidence above. [Patrick Bertolino; previously on Swamplot] Photo of parking garage: Candace Garcia

24 Comment

  • This is the most exciting building to me (personally) in all of Houston.

  • It certainly is exciting when you have to worry about pieces falling off as you walk by.

  • Well they say location, location, location. The offices down the street near Richmond are full with a waiting list I hear. It seems that any office building could be a good deal. Make it “retro” and nice and it could be a great building.

  • This is definitely one building I’d rather see renovated than torn down. Unlike other ugly buildings in the area, it has street level retail and is in a walkable area. I think this is good news.

  • It’s a dump, full of Asbestos, and in horrible repair. For the price of renovating, abating, and protecting the neighborhood they could build two fabulous LEED Platinum buildings

  • The place is a dump and the owner is a broke slumlord who cant even make simple repairs to his slums; the guy is desperately in over his head.

    Every investor to research this property has concluded that a conversion is not feasible. It needs to be torn down and replaced with something brand new.

  • I’ve been in this building and can say with some confidence that when it comes to full renovations vs. begin torn down, go ahead and pay your respects now. And by “full renovations”, i don’t mean staying one step ahead of it crumbling down.

  • If any building in Houston were a great candidate for addition to the National Registry of Malodorous Places, this one is it. I think there must be a city ordinance that says you can’t really call yourself homeless until and unless you’ve urinated in, on, or around 3400 Montrose.

  • Perhaps they are sprucing up the parking lot so Hay Merchant, Underbelly, El Real, etc. can have some more valet parking spots.

  • Please, this building isn’t beyond repair and quit acting like asbestos means the end of all structures. All it takes is some cash and a little bit of vision. Unfortunately for Houstonians, today’s crop of developers lack both…

  • People paint buildings before they truly try to sell them. Take a look on HCAD at their unpaid taxes due, and it gives both a motivation and timeline with which they have to do it.

  • Many diverse ideas here but it all boils down to 2 words : “Low Ceilings”

  • Harold, I totally agree. And they’re not just kind of low, they’re really low.

  • Thank you, Harold.
    Doofus, I think you are missing the point. This isn’t some cool old warehouse or something that can just be converted to loft spaces and open offices or whatever it is you have in mind. It’s gonna take more cash and more vision than is feasible to get the interior to a place where someone could justify the rents the landlord would need to recoup the cost the renovations. And that’s a big IF if they can get it to that point.

  • Yeah, it’s not just the asbestos. Harold is right, the low floor-to-floor heights are a hinderance, but the biggie is the HVAC systems that need to be completely replaced.

  • Have people gone from midgets to monsters in the few years that this place went from being fully occupied to empty? Before it closed were people banging their heads on the roof? did any of the previous tenants died of melanoma due to asbestos? Should we blow up any building that has asbestos in it? Do you realize that would be just about every building in the city?
    I realize the ceilings are lower than what is considered to be in style today, but that doesn’t mean the place needs to be torn down. The price of the building, plus the cost of demo, is much higher than the land alone was worth. There is no way that the value of the structure doesn’t warrant it being saved.
    If you clean the place up and turned it into offices, it would be full in about 15 seconds. Low ceilings and all. It’s not the asbestos or low ceilings keeping it from being taken care of and fixed up. It’s unrealistic expectations of what the building needs to be in order to be considered satisfactory to the city

  • Low ceilings? Simple — two story lofts ;)

  • I can say, with confidence, that unfortunately this building is beyond reasonable repairs. It’s unfortunate because aesthetically the building is cool, but the interior is a complete disaster. And no, asbestos isn’t ‘no big deal’. How the Sky Bar was there as long as it was is a marvel. Unfortunately buildings need REGULAR maintenance, and this building is waaaaay past due. Say goodbye.

  • Did I say ‘unfortunate’ enough? ; )

  • Here’s two more words: large floorplates.
    And two more: structural problems.
    And two more: Covenant House.
    And two more: ugly building.

    Asbestos certainly isn’t the issue. It will have to be dealt with by either a re-modeler or a re-developer.

  • 3400 Montrose is where I met my husband back in the late 70s during the heyday of the building as well as Cody’s. That alone is reason enough to remodel and repurpose it. LOL!

  • Low overhead

  • This building has housed many a nonprofit and art organization over the years. The owners never took in to consideration what could really be made of the place. It could be remodeled and specifically used to office arts and culture folks, and anyone else who would want to have a fabulous location- its about 6 blocks from all the major museums in town! The building looks bad now- but could be fixed up and would be lovely. It reminds me of buildings in NYC, and in the arts districts in Miami. The ceilings are not low. If you ever looked behind the drop ceilings- they are 10-12 feet high. The salon that used to be on the ground floor had a “ceiling remodel” done. It looked great. Yes- we need VISION.

  • I know the manager in place.
    I’m also a neighbor. But as an individual, I find it always funny how people write so much and in great detail about things they never really checked or know anything about …
    Has any of the people who wrote some posts regarding this building ever made thorough engineering tests? Has anyone ever checked indeed (with professionals) the costs of renovating it? The building itself is ok and needs caring hand. That’s all. With smart planning, it’s more then feasible.
    Has any one forgets that this building was full? Did the low ceilings disturbed then past tenants?

    It’s a beautiful building in an amazing location. I just hope the current owners will make something nice of it.
    As someone who as 20 years experience in construction, I can tell that with smart planning and not too much efforts, this building can be turned to an amazing place.