City officials have decided to give the owner of the original 1906 Savoy Apartments building on Main St. Downtown an extra week to knock down the structure before going ahead with their own emergency demolition plan. The building’s owner — listed in Harris County records as Michael Nassif — will now have until midnight next Friday, October 2nd, to have a contractor of his own choice begin dismantling the structure. If that doesn’t happen, the city-selected contractor will complete the demo that weekend — and leave the property with a lien for the $448,600 cost.
While negotiations have focused on how quickly work can begin, residents of the Beaconsfield across Pease St. may be more interested in how long the demo will take — and how it will be done. Architect David Hall, who has studied the building for several developers, spoke to abc13 reporter Gene Apodaca about the asbestos embedded in the building’s crumbling interior plaster:
“It’s full of environmental issues. There are pathogens that are a result of the pigeon droppings, there are areas of the building I measured where pigeon droppings were six inches thick,” said Hall.
The city is aware of the hazardous materials and that’s why the contractor chosen Wednesday, Cherry Environmental Services, had to meet certain qualifications. To start, it had specialize in large demolitions like this one and be preapproved by the city in dealing with asbestos.
“We’re not telling anyone, ‘Hey take it down regardless of the environmental consequences.’ Usually these people, if they are an experienced firm and I hope they are, they know what to do with an older building with some of the materials in it,” said Houston Mayor Bill White. . . .
While Hall agrees that tearing down the building is necessary, he’s still concerned what will be left behind.
“Personally I wouldn’t want to be within a mile of this building and I would not want to be there until there’s been a very hard rain for a long time,” said Hall.
We did talk to the contractor who told us that every precaution is being taken, including wetting the building from keeping the asbestos from going airborne. The Texas Health Department will be on the scene to monitor the situation.
- Savoy demolition pushed back one week [abc13]
- City, Savoy owner agree to delay demolition of crumbling building [11 News]
- The latest, official, Savoy Hotel demo plan! [Houston Political Blog]
- Previously on Swamplot: Emergency Demo: The Savoy Hotel’s Final Weekend Stay Downtown
Photo of 1906 Savoy Apartments building (foreground), 1616 Main St.: Sarah McLean