At a city historic commission hearing 2 weeks ago, a representative of Weingarten Realty noted that the swirly patterned terrazzo flooring at the front entrance of the former Alabama Theater was sloped a half-percent too steep to meet current accessibility standards, and therefore will have to be removed to allow Trader Joe’s to move into the space. Not a problem for the noted preservationists at Weingarten, the building’s owner — the company plans to rip out the decorative design and replace it with a brand new concrete surface for its new tenants.
Too bad for fans of the original front vestibule design of the 1939 Art Deco theater at 2922 S. Shepherd, which is listed as a protected landmark: The commission approved Weingarten’s plans. But the helpful folks at the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance decided to do a little homework for the building’s owners anyway.
Acting on its own, the GHPA contacted the Texas Historical Commission about the issue. The state agency decided that the theater is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and could therefore qualify for a variance that would keep the terrazzo intact and meet both ADA and Texas accessibility standards.
From a GHPA release this morning: “At GHPA’s request, the agency has provided this information directly to the developer, Houston’s Weingarten Realty, and the project architect in Dallas. THC also offered to consult with project planners and assist the developer in applying for the variance.” Too kind, really.
- Previously on Swamplot: What Would Stay and What Would Go in a Trader Joe’s Alabama Theater Clearance, Trader Joe’s Showing at the Alabama Theater: Approved, Trader Joe’s at the Alabama Theater: New Sign in Front, Cheese in Back
- Alabama Theater coverage [Swamplot]
Photos: David Bush (terrazzo) and Jim Parsons (front)