Your Nominations Please: Best Vacancy

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

Mind the gaps! For Houston, 2009 was a year full of them. New empty lots took up residence where older buildings and newer but suddenly unfunded dreams once resided. Gaping holes in balance sheets swallowed up banks, homebuilders, and development schemes, leaving new but incomplete neighborhoods, vacated and foreclosed homes, unsold condos. So many holes, big and small! Which Houston vacancy of the last year most deserves recognition — and why?

You can help your nominee win this award by introducing your choice well. If you’d like to make a nomination, we suggest reading the brief instructions summarized here. The comments (and the Swamplot tip line) are now open for your nominations in this category.

8 Comment

  • So many to choose from. Mosaic, the Turnberry condo sales center, Allen House, Sonoma…and so on.
    I nominate Houston Pavilions (retail only).
    Because it wasn’t enough that the project got repeatedly scaled back during the GOOD YEARS. And it wasn’t enough that the project was embarassingly low-density for such a prime downtown site. And it wasn’t enough that the retail component had to be subsidized by the taxpayers of the City of Houston. The retail component (specifically) had to deliver to market late, feature an underwhelming tenant mix, and be an unmitigated failure in the midst of a half-dozen East Downtown success stories.

  • HP certainly does give new meaning to the phrase ‘low density.’ I must disagree on one minor point with TheNiche: wait a year and you won’t have to limit it to retail. With the exceptions of HoB and McCormick & Schick’s, I would not bet on any of the bars/restos in HP.

    What a disappointment, this limp excuse of a mall.

  • I agree with TheNiche and Shakes in their posts above about HP and second the nomination. However, I’ve gotta bring up Dr. Watkins’ giant Manvel/Pearland mansions. What’s the only thing weirder than a huge, unfinished, vacant, creepily institutional mansion? One that’s half again bigger right next door!

  • The Cone of Shame is shared by 2 for this award… Weingarten Realty AND Barnes and (ig)Noble for the Alabama Bookstop Vacancy.

    The Alabama was an a beacon of light in Houston – Perfect use of the old theater, cool ambience, and great historical save. With its vacancy of the theater and migration to a new shiny, modern bldg, this dream seems only in Hollywood or the Silver Screen. Progress comes as more resources are expended for a new B&N to be added JUST DOWN THE STREET!

    What makes this all the worse is that the 2 were partners in both projects!

  • Can I nominate Randall Davis for being “vacant” from the building scene? Has he learned his lesson that Houston doesn’t need any more overwrought, cheesy-themed buildings? Send him to Orlando.

  • I nominate 2727 Kirby. It is a great looking building (just a little out of place) and will be a part of the skyline forever.

    But WOW!! What a galactic miss on the pricing and demand estimation. Nothing is sold in here, nobody lives there and nobody is willing to admit anything is wrong. A mere mention or some sluething brings out a cabal of the real estate development community to shout you down.

    Soon enough a foreclosure proceeding or a distressed sale/auction will fill up the building. But for now it looks 90% empty.

  • How about that townhome on Heights Blvd next to the railroad tracks? I’m sure it’s still vacant and will be for some time to come…

  • I nominate the Tower Theater. Is it too much to dream club DV8 might return? This place IS Houston at it’s gritty core. I actually hated to see it as a video rental store.