Across W. Alabama From the Icehouse, Those 3 2-Story Apartment Complexes Are Now Making Way for One 6-Story Complex



Chomp goes the excavator on a portion of the 3 adjacent 1950s and ’60s-era complexes at 1920 W. Alabama St., 1924 Marshall St. (pictured at left), and 2810 McDuffie St., right across the street from the Alabama Icehouse and just south of Admiral Linens.

In late July residents of the 3 complexes were told to move out by September 1, so that new owners City Centre at Midtown, an affiliate of developers Dolce Living, could be begin tearing down the 2-story buildings to clear the 1.58 acre parcel for one 6-story, 258-unit luxury apartment building.

Though it will be situated in the western edge of Montrose’s Winlow Place area, the building will be named City Centre at Midtown.

Here is a rendering released to the media in the days after the 35-day eviction notices went out:



While that July drawing appears to show a mostly-blank wall facing the ice house, it is replacing the also-blank contrasting chunky stone and cement-board siding walls that beery revelers there have been staring at for generations:

1920 W. Alabama Street abandoned couch

While Dolce’s portfolio is filled primarily with suburban complexes in places like Fort Bend County, the Dallas ‘burbs and Florida, the company has recently taken a shine to the Inner Loop as well. DLC Midtown is their 5-story, 176,344 sq. ft. apartment building going up on W. Gray St., where a row of historic Freedman’s Town shotgun homes was demolished to make way.

And oops! Looks like a little demo spillover in the 1900 block of Marshall St., just east of the land’s property line:


Photos: Swamplot inbox (demo shots); Prestige Holdings: 2810 McDuffie; Molly Block, via Swamplot Flickr Pool (abandoned couch at 1920 W. Alabama); Peter Lucas (demo spillover on Marshall St.) 

Rendering: Dolce Living / CityCentre at Midtown via Channel 2 News.

Making Way For Montrose’s CityCentre At Midtown

41 Comment

  • Great, now Alabama Ice House will be full of $1500 dollar a month 20 something douchepistols who will think AIH is “quaint” but will hope it becomes like the midtown bars that remind them of their frat/sorority houses.

  • The final douche-ification of the W. Alabama Ice house.


  • Yes yes more of these fabulously wealthy 21 year olds Swamploters constantly harp about. Get used to it, according to so many on here 2 million of Houston’s 2.3 million are these 200000 thousand a year 21 year olds, I mean come on, they have to live somewhere and spend all that money, right? Sure, they’re Douchepistols like you say, but they form the vast majority of the city you see and are the reason for all the money in Houston. I mean all those huge new mansions in RO are obviously commissioned by these 21 year olds and all those high end condo’s–yep 21 year olds. Wow, to be 21 again.

  • seriously who is going to live in all these “Luxury” apartments?

  • I’m willing to bet money that nothing will get built on that land anytime soon. Too many other new apartment complexes nearby, none of which seem to be renting very fast. Can you say overbuilding??

  • “where a row of historic Freedman’s Town shotgun homes was demolished to make way” — more like where a few dilapidated, rotting shacks were moved a few blocks away. in other news, a box that a bum was living in was pushed to the other side of the street to make make way for the new convention hotel.

  • Ugh, here we go….Douchetropolis

  • I am sure none of you non-douchey patrons or supposed patrons of the W Alabama Ice House have anything to worry about. If you are as rude and unwelcoming in person as you are on this board, the new residents will get the hint and leave you to your hallowed grounds. You know not everyone who makes more money than you is a douche.

  • A young professional who doesn’t live in a ‘slummery’ is a douchebag now? I think the real douches are the one’s hurling crude comments around.

    Back to the architecture: They really could have done something nice with the design. The made a half-way effort, but it looks more like a child’s clumsy take on Franklin Lloyd Wright than the Park Inn Hotel.

  • I know this a bit off topic, but I wish the builders of all these architecturally unoriginal, style-defuct, strip-mall-meets-luxury-condo lodgings would use some of their resources to not only hire some (better) architects but also use their clout and connections to also aid in the development of light rail- as many of these new residential offerings are located within a quarter mile of proposed routes. Afterall, it’s in their best interest. Higher density living in a place with no viable form of public transportation (or at least a transport option that is worthy of their potential buyers/leasees level of perceived sophistication (i.e. buses wont cut it for them or for most Housonians)) means more cars on roads in areas where traffic is already hair-tearingly slow. If these builders’ potential tenants and buyers realize that they are going to be stuck in endless and increasingly more constant traffic with no end in sight, they might ditch the innerloop scene, however trendy and alluring it might seem, and start buying those cookie-cutter burb-castles in the sticks like many did in the 2000s. I’ve heard that is already starting to occur to some degree. I know of several long-time inner loop residents that have moved further out in search of serenity and the ability to drive their cars faster than 5 mph. Fuck culberson and all the other self-serving, short-sighted politicians, suburban developers, businesses and pompous residents who keep killing attempts to build light rail in Houston. We need rail, and we need it now. This is something nearly all Houstonians – douches, dorks, dunces, donkeys, elephants, elitists, revolutionaries, common folk, long-time Houstonians and recent arrivals alike – should be in support of.

    If you’re not for rail, you’re for traffic. It’s that simple.

    We can argue about whether the city is losing its identity and having it replaced with a sheen of sophistication in the form of these new apartment and condo offerings that just doesn’t quite fit our persona. Others might say that as the 4th largest city in the US, Houston is worthy of having more modern “world-class” housing options. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, it would be hard to argue that: A) we don’t have a major traffic problem; and B) that without building a light rail line or similar form of public transport system, the traffic problems will resolve themselves. They won’t. You can’t enlarge the current streets any more than they are. Even if you could, that would only temporarily alleviate the problems until more cars filled the roads and we would be right back to where we started. The only way to take cars off the road is by providing a viable transportation option via a widespread rail network. In the past 3 years alone (2011 to 2104), 450,000 people moved to Houston (source: Even if the pace of those moving to Houston slows somewhat and some that previously relocated here move away because of the drop in oil prices and lack of employment, we still are likely to have an additional three quarters of a million more residents by 2020 (that’s just 5 years away btw) (source:

    More people = more cars = more traffic.

    Those who are against rail because they don’t plan on using it due to the fact that it doesn’t make sense based on where they work and live or for those who deem public transportation as simply beneath them, should be in favor of rail if only because if others are able to ride the rail, there will be less people clogging the roads and highways. To conclude, while I’m in no way saying that it should solely fall to the inner-loop builders and developers to push for rail, they do tend to be a well-connected and wealthy bunch and are in a position to help in that regard. Given that it would likely benefit their bottom line it should also be a no-brainer for them.

  • And another one bites the dust.
    Will HUD and the housing advocates wake up and realize that these demolitions are the real threat to affordable housing in Houston and elsewhere? Will they start suing downtown boosters and developers when they demolish affordable housing, like they sue suburban communities when they try to block subsidized housing?
    I don’t think so…. It’d mean pissing off the wrong people.

  • Why Palm trees? WTF is my beach? Seriously ban these non-natural trees in our clay soil.

  • Shannon, as much as you want it not to be true, the base salary for an engineer coming out of undergrad (23-24 years old) into an oil company these days is 120k+ with bonuses as high as 20% per year.. Geologists start around the same level as well. All those young ‘douches’ you see around town work for Chevron, BP, Shell, Exxon, and yes they all make a crap ton of money. I should know, I am one!

  • I don’t know whether I find it more odd that all the apartment buildings being torn down inside the loop look exactly like each other or that all the new ones being built as replacements look exactly like each other. Maybe if there was some diversity in a given generation of architecture we wouldn’t get hopelessly bored every 30 years and need to bulldoze everything

  • I find the discussion here amusing because uninspired apartments from a bygone era are being replaced with uninspired apartments from a soon-to-be-bygone era and people are pissy about that.

    This is what happens when a younger generation is shut out of entry-level homeownership due to reduced economic opportunity, more student loans, tighter mortgage lending, and their own perception that perhaps it is unwise to put down roots in a place. They turn into renters. They stay in the city (or near their jobs, otherwise). That is who will rent these apartments.

  • What is happening to old houston..our wonderful older neighborhoods are being destroyed by greedy developers…who makes enough money to live in these places…where are all the displaced people gping…where is the history of our older hoods, Montrose, Hrights, Oak Forest. Where is everybody. What about history.? Mid town has changed so much I hardly can get around because the landscape is so different..not to speak of the traffic.mayor Annie Parker you suck fir destroying our once comfortable should be ashamed.

  • “If you are as rude and unwelcoming in person as you are on this board, the new residents will get the hint and leave you to your hallowed grounds.”

    Not true. They still kept moving in despite my rude and unwelcoming behavior.

  • Anyone else totally confused by the name? City Centre at Midtown? It’s neither in Midtown, nor British. You could argue that Montrose is actually in the center of Houston, I guess. I’m not originally from here and am pretty perplexed by the insistence of the “City Centre” name.

  • Who cares who’s going to move into these apartments… doesn’t anyone care that they’re naming it City Centre at Midtown?! IT’S NOWHERE NEAR MIDTOWN.

  • sam….your diatribe about Parker being responsible for our neighborhood loss shows a total lack of understanding about Houston. Politicians here are purely window dressing…..developers run the place. It’s not mass conspiracy, it is just what makes Houston an opportunistic city as opposed to one anyone wants to stay in beyond their ability to retain their current job. Houston does keep growing and changing in spite of itself, and these new flashy apartment complexes are just the slums of the future. Look at SW Houston. The hottest places in the 70’s. Now…….????

  • This is great news for the taco truck across the street.

  • Dag is correct. There are a lot of very highly paid positions in the energy industry here in Houston. Go get a ChemE or Geology degree and see for yourself. There are even a few college dropouts like me that are getting $150k to $300k a year. I should know because I have a bunch that work for me.

    Making good money and not wanting to live in a 1970s or 80s run down apartment complex doesn’t make you a douche. There is a lot of hatred and jealousy in the comments section here.

  • A couple miles outside Midtown and about 13 miles away from CityCentre. I think the name is Houston-awesome. When do we get “Galleria Heights”?

  • Renters in complexes inside the loop that charge $1,500 and up for a one bedroom apartment are not people who have been shut out of the housing market (unless they are living with roommates–but most are not). People paying $1,500+ for an apartment inside the loop are generally either people who are just passing through on an energy assignment and have no need to deal with the trouble of buying and selling a house or are young folks who are single and just don’t need a house yet. When I was in my 20s, I thought about getting a house, but very much preferred having an apartment with a pool, a fitness center, a parking garage and a maintenance guy who showed up whenever something broke. A lot of people coming to Houston to work will rent before they buy. It takes time to get a feel for a city and to get to a position in their company where they feel secure enough to sign up for a big mortgage payment.

  • Some of the last of the Russian petrodollars are behind this project. If their project on W Gray is
    any example it’ll take them 3 years to build it as they have problems keeping subcontractors on the
    job. President Putin has a piece of this action.

  • As developers continue the neighborhood name-dropping game, Midtown will continue to move west, River Oaks will continue to move east and south and the Museum District continues to move north and west was is now casually considered to be Montrose will be continue to be gobbled up and considered something else by future generations.

  • Shannon, there’s money in oil, good money for smart people. Truth be told, you don’t even need a degree to catch some windfall, you have to know people, but if you spend the 4 years that you would have used in college networking, it happens.
    Anyway, to Sam’s point, I agree, I very much miss the ‘old’ midtown, rundown, completely empty aside from commuters driving on Louisiana or Smith. Don’t forget how awesome Heights was back in the early ’90s, why, you hardly hear gunshots anymore, that place has not changed for the better, if you ask me.
    Montrose is the only real loser here, it had character with tattoo parlors on every corner, and resale shops where you could get cheap second hand clothing because you were poor, not because it was cool. Gosh, such good times.

  • The traffic! ….and at a minimum, you would think the city could at least maintain the existing roads.

  • @toasty

    Don’t forget those affordable slum properties for ‘creative’ and ‘bohemian’ communities. Think of all the great artists and musicians from the area, and how awful it will be that these areas will fill up with families and young professionals.

  • Cue the NIMBY hipster and yuppies whining in 321!

  • its funny to see the hipsters and yuppies whine about gentrification and so forth when they are the ones gentrifying neighborhoods…yeah some of the hipsters and yuppies might’ve lived there when it was on the cusp of gentrification just so they can feel that they live in a an edgy neighborhood and gloat to there friends about having working class patriotism but did they grow up there when it was the hood? Do they have any family or friends there? Any real roots there?most likely not……its the same type that uses the word douche for every new development or bar/restaurant that comes in the loop ironically they themselves are the douche they speak so ill of

  • As a longtime Inner Looper, I don’t mind new development. And, I don’t resent upper-income young professionals (even if they are here temporarily), who I appreciate for their disposable income and the resulting tax dollars for our city treasury.
    I can only hope that the brainiacs at City Hall will spend those extra dollars on fixing our crumbling streets. Alabama is like a mini-roller coaster from Midtown to Shepherd. South Shepherd is nothing more than a bunch of patches and potholes held together by a tired street. Kirby is is in good shape but is choked with traffic.

  • It’s really not as personal as some here make it out to be – it’s not the douchiness of the renters: it’s the douchiness of the rents and the hideousness of the buildings. It’s the total lack of character of the neighborhood being formed, it a high density suburb replacing low-density urban, in an area that needs more urban not less. If you get into your car to buy groceries that’s suburbs no matter how high your building.

  • Density in and of itself is not an intrinsically good thing. Just because a neighborhood has mid-rise apartments does not make it’s future brighter, just different. Montrose had an interesting history and should have served as an example of what a non-zoned city creates from a quality of life perspective over time. Nothing has changed except the temporary addition of higher income people and higher density dwellings (like this complex). The garden apartments built in Montrose in the 60s and 70s were higher density for the time. Did they lead to a better neighborhood? Were they ever considered architecturally pleasing? Maybe some.

    I do agree with the concern expressed by many of density at all costs, believing that this will somehow lead to a surge in public transit (light rail), more walking, etc. What I am seeing is higher density leading to further degradation of our infrastructure as the streets fall apart and water/sewer lines become over-taxed. Houston does not reinvest in itself, and that lack of investment in infrastructure and transportation will one day affect it’s ability to attract new business and residences (if it isn’t already). Will we become the next Detroit when oil has seen its day?????

  • Yuck. More Gawd awful stucco “nc”..crap… By Dolce Livings reasoning : if the FAR western edge of Montrose is Midtown, conversely I can claim I’m : The REAL City Centre IN River Oaks – and I’m near Waugh/W.Gray!!! These names have officially veered into douche bag land.. So over all of it. The “design” is another soul less uninspired block of schlock !!! A lot of these energy company employees are here on assignment and will be moving. Of course most/if not all of the “nc” will become the slums of the future.@ Tom B : in answer to your query – the brainiacs at City Hall. That IS a LMAO moment and an oxymoron- if we had brainy people at City Hall our streets wouldn’t resemble a Third World country. But they are and will continue to stay that way until 2017, per Annise Parkers grand plan to DELAY replacement/repair of said roads/streets.She could have put a BILLION dollar plus bond issue on the ballot two elections ago and it would have likely overwhelmingly PASSED. But NO. Of course her neighborhood has tight deed restrictions and nice streets. And she granted River Oaks’s request to reblacktop San Felipe (between S.Shepherd and Kirby ) TWICE within 2 years. But her PWD-Street Operations division can’t replace a simple NO Parking street sign nor a curb that has been broken for 16 + years-for which we’ve paid tens of thousands in property taxes. Welcome to the skewed future in Houston- it’s like being on an acid trip w/o doing any drugs !!! So surreal.

  • The residents of West Alabama were not originally told what this article states. They were lied to. Get the story straight before you publish it. Interview a few who lived there for precise details.

  • 1st generation gentrifiers bitching about 3rd wave gentrifiers “destroying our neighborhood”

  • @Prdraig…”block of schlock”

  • So happy to see that they are finally cleaning up that nasty and skanky section of town known as Montrose

  • Douche this, douchey that, douchebag, douchepistols… What’s with all the fixation on keeping ones vagina clean?

  • Tell it Brad!

    However, the new name is the most upsetting part of the story for me.