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Posts Tagged ‘preservation’

The historic Astrodome

Not sure what effect this will have. The National Park Service has added the Astrodome, the world’s first domed stadium, to the National Register of Historic Places, making it eligible for tax breaks to aid in its rehabilitation but offering no real protection from the wrecking ball. Historical preservationists, who successfully pushed for the Dome’s […]

The preservation ordinance is a work in progress

That’s the tl;dr version of this. In October 2010, an emotional Sue Lovell, then a city council­woman, lauded the passage of a strengthened historic preservation ordinance for Houston after a long, complex and divisive battle she and Mayor Annise Parker had led. In recent months, however, Lovell has appeared before the commissions tasked with implementing […]

Finally doing that front door facelift

Better late than never. Renovations started this week on the historic Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing on the north end of downtown. The more than 100-year-old structure, now behind a fence as construction begins, is getting a $5.3 million facelift from Houston First Corp. and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. They hope the new design will […]

Saving Rice Stadium

Houston has another historic stadium in it that’s seen better days, but this one is still in use and has some hope of being restored to its former glory. As a place to watch a game, there are few better than Rice Stadium, thrown up almost overnight between the 1949 and 1950 seasons. But it […]

Not in a rush about the Dome after all

We’ll get to deciding what to do with the Dome when we get to it. Harris County leaders are in no rush to decide what to do with the Astrodome, leaving the empty and decaying stadium to languish further following last week’s voter rejection of a $217 million plan to convert the iconic stadium to […]

Precinct analysis: The Dome and the jail

Now that precinct data is out, the Chron has an updated take on what sunk the Astrodome referendum. Overall, 53.4 percent of Harris County voters rejected the bond issue that would have renovated the long-vacant Dome into a convention and exhibit space. In Houston, 50.1 percent of the voters turned it down, while in unincorporated […]

On the uses of the New Dome

So it’s looking pretty good for the Astrodome renovation referendum. But what exactly will we get if it does pass? In particular, will the New Dome be economically sustainable in a way that the current one is not? To date, Harris County and Reliant Park officials have offered little more than verbal assurances the New […]

Endorsement watch: Saving the Dome

The Chronicle gives its blessing to the Astrodome renovation referendum. There has been a lot of finger-pointing over the Astrodome’s mismanagement, but come Election Day it only matters that voters point their fingers to the ballot button and approve the $217 million bond initiative to save the Dome. [...] The eyes of the nation are […]

Who’s advocating for the Dome?

Some old familiar names are getting back in the game. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday after the Commissioners Court meeting name-dropped two former county judges — Jon Lindsay and Robert Eckels — who will lead the charge on a campaign to garner support for an Astrodome renovation project. A $217 million bond referendum […]

Astrodome-palooza

In case you aren’t completely full of my opining on the Astrodome and its possible fate, I was the author of a op-ed in the Sunday Chron on the subject. It’s kind of the Reader’s Digest version of the things I’ve been saying here, so if you don’t click over you won’t miss anything new […]

It’s about use, not just sentiment

NYT reporter Jere Longman, who hails from Houston, penned a love letter to the Astrodome after hearing about its possible impending demise. So it was despairing to hear that the vacant Astrodome might be torn down and its site paved over as Houston prepares to host the 2017 Super Bowl. Demolition would be a failure […]

Does the Super Bowl doom the Dome?

The Texican ponders what the announcement about Houston landing Super Bowl LI means for everyone’s favorite unused arena. So what does this mean for our Dome? A parking garage would be an ignoble end for the Dome, though I am sure many would settle for parking somewhere in the former lodge section if it meant […]

Fixing our front door

This sounds very cool. The century-old Sunset Coffee Building, looming in disrepair over Allen’s Landing at the north end of downtown, will become Houston’s “front door” with an $8 million public-private renovation set to begin in April. The three-story brick structure is boarded up, marked with graffiti, and has shrubs growing out of some second-floor […]

Germantown gets historic designation

Congratulations to what may be the last historic district created in the city of Houston. The first historic district created under a stricter rewrite of Houston’s preservation ordinance passed City Council on Wednesday, though conservationists predicted future districts will be scarce even as they cheered the milestone. With council’s 11-5 vote, Germantown Historic District – […]

Lawsuit filed over historic preservation ordinance

I got an email last week from Kathleen Powell of Responsible Historic Preservation for Houston announcing that the first lawsuit against Houston’s new historic preservation. You can see a copy of the complaint here. What I have not seen is a mention of this on any news-related website. Nothing on the Chron, or Swamplot, or […]

RIP, Bubba the roach

Another Houston institution bites the dust. For 42 years, a 2-ton sign featuring a neon-lighted cockroach blazed over the Southwest Freeway near Westpark, a garish but iconic advertisement for Holder’s Pest Control. The 8-foot-by-16-foot sign, nicknamed Bubba, was taken down in 2004 and put in storage because Holder’s had moved its offices and a new […]

What’s to become of the downtown post office?

Lisa Gray writes about the future of the downtown post office on Franklin. In the past couple of years, there have been rumblings that the U.S. Postal Service plans to leave 401 Franklin and sell the 16-acre complex – a prospect that sets developers, architects and planners atremble. It’s not just that the parcel of […]

More thoughts on the Mayoral election

I think there are two key things to keep in mind when contemplating Tuesday’s election results in Houston and what they may mean for 2013. First and foremost, I believe you have to see the Mayor’s percentage of the vote, which everyone would agree was underwhelming, as a reflection on her level of support and […]

Interview with Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza

Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza was a deadline day filer for Houston City Council in District I. A resident of Glenbrook Valley, she became politically involved during the fight over the historic preservation ordinance in that neighborhood. She has a degree in finance and has worked in the financial services industry. Here’s our conversation: Download the MP3 […]

Trader Joe’s makes its move

Alabama Theater, here they come. Trader Joe’s is officially considering the historic Alabama Theatre for its first Houston outpost. The proposal is on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, which would have to approve changes made to the property. That would be tomorrow. You can see a copy […]

Trader Joe’s to the Alabama Bookstop?

Maybe. Trader Joe’s is eyeing the old Alabama Theatre on Shepherd and West Alabama, according to a source familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, the grocer said it planned to open stores in Houston and Dallas. Specific locations were not identified. Weingarten Realty, which owns the property, would not comment. Neither would Trader Joe’s. […]

Meet the new historical districts

Not so different from the old historical districts. After months of petition drives and acrimonious public testimony over the protection of old Houston neighborhoods, the only change to the six historic district maps headed to the City Council on Wednesday is the removal of a single address from a Montrose-area district. The council could end […]

Historic Houston closing its salvage warehouse

What a shame. LOCAL NONPROFIT Historic Houston is no longer accepting donations of building materials, and is closing its salvage warehouse and ending its salvage program, reports the organization’s founder and executive director, Lynn Edmundson. The organization stored and sold donated historic building materials reclaimed from doomed houses at a leased warehouse and yard at […]

Historic preservation has been preserved

Swamplot: THE RESULTS ARE in, and it looks like the great campaign todissolve Houston’s historic districts has been a bit of a bust. Houston planning director Marlene Gafrick reports that the “survey period” for Heights East, Heights West, Heights South, Boulevard Oaks, and Avondale West historic districts has closed and that the planning department has […]

Preservation reconsideration

One of the pieces to the new historic preservation ordinance was the designation of a period in which already-existing historic districts could submit a petition to have the city reconsider their status. The deadline for that has passed, and 8 of the existing 16 districts got the necessary 10% of homeowners to sign on. If […]

What the Planning Department says about the new preservation ordinance

Via The Heights Life, here are a series of YouTube videos produced by Planning & Development Director Marlene Gafrick to explain what the new preservation ordinance is all about: Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRJrDd6cb7A Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae5DyFiwuk4 Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp81p1Yq2HQ Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8X3IpwWfcs Or just go to YouTube and search on “Marlene Gafrick”. If I hear of […]

Council passes revised historic preservation ordinance

I’m glad to see that City Council finally passed the long-awaited and much-revised historic preservation ordinance, and even more glad to see that the 90-day waiver for demolitions has been excised, so that what we have now is an actual ordinance and not merely a preservation suggestion. But it’s clear that the fight is a […]

The preservation ordinance fight

The revised preservation ordinance came before Council last week. It got a lot of feedback in addition to being tagged. Mayor Pro Tem Anne Clutterbuck also opposed the changes to the ordinance, which include a provision that would prevent property owners from demolishing historic buildings in historic districts if a city commission has denied their […]

Public Hearing on Final Draft of Historic Preservation Ordinance

From the Inbox: Final Draft of Proposed Amendments to Historic Preservation Ordinance Released Houstonians, After a two-month process involving public input from stakeholders, I have released the final draft of proposed amendments to the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and a specified process for transitioning the existing historic districts to the stronger protections offered by the […]

Public meeting regarding Koehler Street Development

From the inbox: Public Meeting Regarding Koehler Street Development Mayor Annise Parker Cordially invites you to attend A public meeting regarding the Koehler Street Development Wednesday, August 25, 2010 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. George R. Brown Convention Center 1001 Avenida de las Americas Room 370 Houston, TX 77010 You are cordially invited to attend […]

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

I mentioned there were pro-preservation ordinance signs out there, so I thought I’d show what they look like: The link is to http://www.preservehouston.org/, the Houston Historic Districts Coalition. It’s a busy little website, especially in contrast to the Responsible Historic Preservation folks. As I said before, I’ve seen a lot more of the RHP signs […]

The preservationists make their case

Ramona Davis of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance has a long and detailed op-ed in the Sunday paper that makes the case for the new preservation ordinance currently working its way through Council. Here’s a sample of the bullet points: • Houston’s preservation ordinance does not govern interiors. Section 33-202(c) of the ordinance specifically states, […]

Pushback on the historic preservation ordinance

I’m seeing a few of these signs in my neighborhood: The first ones I spotted were in front of houses on Heights Blvd; this one and a couple of others were on Studewood on an empty commercial lot. I’ve since seen a few on Yale and 6th Street. The ResponsibleHistoricPreservation.org site says it is a […]

The new Historic Preservation ordinance

From Swamplot: The mayor’s office is out with a “public comment draft” of proposed changes to Houston’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. The biggest (and most expected) change: There’ll be no more 90-day “compliance waivers” issued for historic-district properties. Under the previous ordinance, owners of contributing properties in historic districts whose plans for new construction, demolition, or […]