The future looked a bit dire last week for the strange, dilapidated bungalow hiding in the back of a parking lot of the old HPD HQ building, just across the Gulf Freeway from the Downtown Aquarium. A 10-day online auction for the city-owned building ended with no bids. And the requirements of the bidder looked a little steep: partial demolition, repairs, a move, and restoration.
But a second one-day-only last-chance auction produced — surprise! — an actual bidder at the initial $1,000 asking price. Lucky winner Kirby Mears says he’s representing an “out-of-town client” who plans to restore the 1872 home to its original condition. “She’s very excited,” he tells Swamplot. But he says the former residence of Sixth Ward carpenter and contractor Gottlieb Eisele — last used as an office for the HPD’s old Explorer program — is in bad shape: “It will be a major restoration, and in the end have a new roof which will match the original in design, slope, and eave details.” It’ll also have a new home:
Plans are to move the house to an available lot on the bricked portion of Sabine St., just north of Lubbock in the Old Sixth Ward historic district. Visitor parking will likely be a little less convenient in the new location, but at least the home won’t have to travel too far. Mears says his firm, Murphy Mears Architects, will work on the project. He says his client had found out about the house months ago, and that he had initially hoped the city would help pay moving costs — “because the Police Department needed the land, and the City routinely pays to move houses.” But the house was sold as surplus property, and his client will have to meet the requirements stated in the public auction.
- Auction #508526 – 1872 Bungalow Cottage (Historic Gottleib Eisele House) HPD-111710 [Public Surplus]
- The little HPD house [Bayou City History]
- Previously on Swamplot: Auction of Old House in Police Station Parking Lot Held Over by Lack of Popular Demand, Ready To Be Hauled Away: Under the Freeway, in the Back of the Parking Lot
Photos: City of Houston