Old Building Still Blocking 27 Cars from Parking Downtown

What’s getting in the way of county commissioners extending the clear zone around Minute Maid Park with a much-needed 27-car county parking lot at the corner of Texas Ave. and Austin St.? Well, there was the owner of a Galena Park chemical business who shouted from the back of the room at yesterday’s commissioners court hearing that he wanted to buy the building sitting on that land — the 1923 Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Building at 1319 Texas Ave. — and turn it into a nutcracker factory or something. Plus, darn it, the building is getting less valuable as time goes by!

The building has gone to auction twice. In 2007, the minimum bid was set at its appraised value of $3.25 million. For a September auction, the appraised value was lowered to $1.98 million. There were no takers at either auction.

Lawrence Chapman of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance said the most recent auction used an outdated 2008 appraisal and that a new appraisal would bring in an even lower price tag that could save the four-story building from demolition.

Art Storey, the county’s public infrastructure director, estimated the building would cost $150,000 to demolish, but as much as $5 million to restore.

And so the latest delay: Commissioners voted to circle the block for another 3 months — and get another appraisal in the meantime.

Photo: Flickr user telwink [license]

4 Comment

  • So yeah I sure don’t agree that somebody’s private PLAN to develop a building into something should ‘hold court’ but, surely, this building is more valuable than a postage stamp’s worth of new asphalt.

  • I looked at this building for a client last month and can tell you that it is in BAD shape. Despite what the court may have decided, Harris County has already accomplished ‘demolition by neglect’ on this building. It has MAJOR structural problems and pieces of the building are literally falling on the sidewalk below. The masonry wall is coming apart due to extreme settlement, failing lintels, and 80 years of water infiltration.
    The most amazing thing about this building was to see that most of the wood joists in the building have twisted and cracked as the floors have moved due to the settlement of the exterior walls.
    The only way to save the building would be to literally tear it down brick by brick and rebuild it one brick at a time. Additionally large portions of the heavy timber structure would have to be replaced due to the cracking but also due to water damage on the south facade.
    There is a Walter P. Moore report that confirms most of this. In the interests of public safety, (unfortunately) the wrecking ball is the only solution for this building.

  • The last thing we need in downtown is another parking lot. Minute Maid should build a garage if they want parking that bad. There shouldn’t be a “clear zone” around Minute Maid. I think there should be new pedestrian friendly development. Tear it down and build something new. Just my two cents.

  • If the Astros don’t improve real soon, there will be no shortage of parking around the stadium. I don’t see how 27 spots is really going to be a significant addition. Especially if the proposed light rail ever gets built near the stadium there should be even less need for parking spots so close to the venue.