The Changes Coming to the Pre-War Peacock & Plaza Apartment Complex Downtown

THE CHANGES COMING TO THE PRE-WAR PEACOCK & PLAZA APARTMENT COMPLEX DOWNTOWN The new owner of the Peacock & Plaza Apartments at 1414 Austin St. — a 2-building, 32-unit complex that sports a colorfully feathered mosaic a block west of the Toyota Center — tells Swamplot what’s in store for a portion of the property: “We plan to heavily upgrade each unit in one of the two buildings. New plumbing, electrical, upgrade of HVAC systems, all new kitchens, appliance, bathroom.” In the other building: “We’ll clean the units up but we’re going to try to leave it somewhat original,” says the representative of the buyer, Fat Property. Before Colorado-based FVMHP took over the complex in 2014, it had been owned by the same woman for 80 years, according to the current buyer. Designed by Houston architect Lenard Gabert, its first building went up in 1926; the second followed 14 years later. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Fat Property

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  • I’m excited to get some pictures of the original units up (the building we won’t go crazy in). They need a lot of cleaning/repairs first. But man, I’ve seen a lot, and these are something else. Giant free standing “tub” type sink, original Murphy beds that I assume are 90 years old, etc. Those units will be as left alone as possible with the exception of a modern ductless HVAC system to replace those horrid window units.. They’ll be leased as cheap as we can keep them (under $700)
    The other building, as mentioned, has been gutted with new pex plumbing and electrical and will be fully built out to “A” (okay, A- :P) standards. Those will rent for more obviously, but still less than any comparable downtown property.
    The last post on swamplot (over a year ago?) about this property I commented that it was for sure destined to be demoed. I’m glad I was wrong and that we were able to save it. It’s one of the coolest properties we’ve acquired.

  • THANK YOU FAT PROPERTY!!! A few years ago I had a girlfriend that lived in this building. It’s so awesome. Her unit was older but had a quirky charm. She always said they’d have to drag her out of there if a new owner ever bought it and wanted to knock it down.
    Ironically I live in one of the “Fat Property” complexes in midtown. It’s also super old (built in the 30s?) building and they’ve done a great job on the units. Ive been here since a few months after they bought it and they not only improved the building considerably but allowed the whole neighborhood to finally get fixed up.

  • Whew! I saw the photo and expected the worst.

  • Charming.
    The website indicates they’re all Studios – were the original apartments Studios?
    I imagine these would be successful AirBnBs.

  • My Uncle, J. Holly Brewer, bought the Plaza Court and Peacock apartments sometime about 1942. It was managed by his mother, Kate Lillian Brewer and my mother Edith Fox Bannerman, until J. Holly Brewer and my father, James Knox Bannerman returned from service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. J. Holly Brewer then operated the apartments alone until his death in 1984. Edith Fox Bannerman and her sister, Frances Marion Marchiando then inheirited the property and jointly managed it. After Mrs. Marchiando passed away her son, Michael Marchiando jointly managed the buildings with mom until 1995. At that point I, James Knox Bannerman II, and my mother Edith Bannerman shared the management of the buildings until we sold them in 2014. I felt it was time to sell them as mother was 97 years young. Mother did not speak to me for week after the sale. When she did speak her first sentence was “You took my job away.” Go figure. She is amazing. She drove the Houston freeways until she was 93 with never a citation or accident. Mom is 100 now and occasionally we drive her to visit some of the long term tenants. These buildings have many stories to tell. I am delighted to see they are to be updated and preserved. James Knox Bannerman II

  • Great news. I assumed these were goners.

  • Wow! Great job, Cody!
    Reading the comments on the “Previously on Swamplot” thread brings back memories.

  • James: I’d love to talk to you about the property if you don’t mind. I don’t normally like to advertise with company info here but my person email if you could send me your # is codymail at gmail

  • You should put some of the historical information Mr. Bannerman can probably give you up on a wall somewhere in one of the buildings.

  • People like you, Cody, give me hope that some people still care about Houston’s history, and wish to preserve it. The post from James reminds me of a woman here in East Montrose, Nell Stewart, who frequently contributes to the East Montrose Civic Association Newsletter. I only read it to see if she’s contributed!
    She has such a wealth of information about the neighborhood, the activity of the period before and after WWII, the cultural activities, the homes in the neighborhood, the good, the bad and every change that has happened to Montrose. She lives in the same house for almost 100 years, and Swamplot once ran an article about here.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, Cody!

  • I had such great times living at the Peacock from 2007-2010. Mrs. Bannerman was a treat and it was great listening to her stories of when she played the organ. Glad to see that these will be preserved.