And this one seems almost preordained by the stars: Aries Motel, the last of the City of Houston’s “dirty half-dozen,” those multi-family/commercial buildings so blighted not even Mayor Parker can love them, has been tagged to go down today. The Gladstone St. motel sits on 10,000-sq.-ft. lot in Sunnyside, just west of Scott and north of Bellfort.
- Mayor Parker, Community Leaders Tear Down Last of “Dirty Half-Dozen” [City of Houston]
There are a lot more than a half dozen blighted apartment complexes in Houston. I hope our Mayor doesn’t stop now that the “Dirty Half Dozen” are down. And it’s not just complexes that are so bad they need to be demolished. We also have a bumper crop of complexes that are still structurally sound – many of them still occupied – but that desperately need rehabilitation, or else they will need to be condemned in 5 or 10 years.
1519 Indiana has been vacant for 14,now going on 15 YEARS and the COH and its DON have done NOTHING. The COH is,by default, allowing DANGEROUS properties remain in their decrepit state. Probably one reason is so reap higher tax revenues !!! No matter what the COH says ,it’s actions(or lac thereof,speak volumes)!!
There are THOUSANDS of dangerous,vacant,decrepit buildings/structures that the COH has NEGLECTED for DECADES. Any of you can probably name several. No thanks to our republican controlled Texas supreme court,property owners can now delay further the forced demolition of their dangerous/abandoned/decrepit property!!
Excellent point, Patrick. A Texas Supreme Court case, and a list of new laws in the last session of the State Legislature changed things significantly for dealing with urban blight. It behooves neighbors to expand their horizons when trying to get these places torn down. I wrote about it in my blog. http://citizenarchitect.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-ballgame-for-urban-blight-in-texas.html
If a property is vacant, that’s not the cities job to deal with. The owner is paying taxes on the value and has opted — for whatever reason — to have it vacant.
The city doesn’t have the right to say “I don’t like this” and knock it down. ITS NOT THEIR PROPERTY TO KNOCK DOWN! SOMEONE PAID OUT OF THEIR POCKET FOR THE PROPERTY. ITS THEIRS! NOT MINE, NOT YOURS, NOT THE CITIES!
I’ve said this 1000000 times. If the city wants to see some of these older properties improved (which I’d support), work ***WITH*** investors to fix them up. I know from first had experience that buying these things and trying to fix them up SUCKS. The second you close the city is all over the place with the red tag bergade trying to get fines and permits and occupancy certs, and and and… So rather than ENCOURAGING people to buy and fix up a place, they DISCOURAGE people to do so.
So properties sit because people don’t wan to deal with the city.. And people, ironically, blame the city. In part, it is the cities fault, but not the reason they think.
Cody, let me first say how much I appreciate what you do. I wish we had people doing that in the Sharpstown area.
But there’s the reason you sometimes have such backlash when you try to redo older properties, and here it is:
Neighbors have watched as the buildings deteriorate, and deteriorate, and deteriorate. After a while it gets to the point where they just want someone to come in with a bulldozer and end it. Then you come along and instead of bulldozing it, you start to rebuild. The neighbors response is to watch you like a hawk, and if there is so much as a piece of mud past the boundary of your property, they call 311. Then the Prius patrol comes (because they’re complaint based) and you know the rest.
And Here’s how you get around it:
Start going to civic club and super neighborhood meetings in the areas where you’re investing. Don’t just go once and announce your project. Go often. Stay quiet at first and ease into telling them what you do. Go with an open mind, too – if they want something done about a nightmare derelict building, see what you can do. Believe me, it’ll make your work go a lot smoother.