Old Building Needs to be Demolished

Houston police say a one hundred year old building downtown needs to come down. The backside of the vacant structure is crumbling and that's creating a safety hazard. Officials say they hope demolition will take place in a week — once a contractor is found. Pat Hernandez has the story.

The building at 1616 Main is located next to the old Savoy Hotel. It was built in 1909, but has been vacant for years.

Mark Curran is Houston Police Assistant Chief in charge of Neighborhood Protection. He says the building has been
monitored for stability the past seven years after a huge crack appeared. But Chief Curran says recently the building has become more of a safety concern.

"The escalation of the bricks starting to come off the building has increased. People who have parked here have reported to Public Works and Neighborhood Protection, that they're beginning to see this so, it's just one of those things that the owner has not done enough repair work, and so now it's starting to crumble — and we have to step in and take the emergency action."

He says it is still to be determined is who will be in charge of knocking the structure down.

"There's only certain contractors can bid on this, because it needs specialized equipment...because we have to be careful on the Main Street side. We want to make sure that we don't take the front side of the building seems to be structurally sound at this time, but we have to be careful because that's where the Metro line is. In addition, you've got power lines on the front side of the building that you need to be very careful with. And so, when we shut this power down, we gotta be careful we don't impact Exxon or some of these other buildings. But we're gonna be monitoring. If it deteriorates any faster, we will have them bring in whatever equipment they can to get it down."

The building is also located near the Metro rail line on Main Street. Raquel Roberts is with the transit agency.

"If they can do this on the weekend, obviously we have a lot less ridership and this is not a terribly heavy area for us on the weekend.  If they can wait till rush hour is over with that's better."

Officials say the demolition is scheduled for next weekend.

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...