The Magnolia Hotel in Houston

Photo of The Magnolia Hotel in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of The Magnolia Hotel in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

The Magnolia Hotel
Formerly:Shell Building
Formerly:Post-Dispatch Building
Formerly:1114 Texas Avenue

609 Fannin, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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One of several downtown buildings whose glory days are in its past. This building was once at the center of the action as a busy Bayou City evolved from a frontier plat into a metropolis. At 22 stories, this limestone covered building was once the tallest in the city. It was built for Ross S. Sterling who owned and published the Houston Post-Dispatch. It went on to become the Houston Post, and he went on to become governor of Texas. The Post went out of business in 1995. Today, the building is getting new life. Spurred by the lack of rooms downtown, the success of Minute Maid Park, and the coming downtown basketball and hockey arena, renovations are underway to turn it into an upscale 380-room hotel. Denver's Steve Holtze paid $40,000,000.00 for the building and plans to make it very exclusive ala Hotel Derek on the West Loop. When complete, guests will be able to dine at a rooftop restaurant, or swim in the rooftop pool. However, what is a swanky hotel without an equally swanky bar? The Magnolia Hotel is across the street from Christ Church Cathedral, and state law prohibits sales of alcohol within 300 feet of a church or school. At one time Mayor Brown proposed an ordinance that would exempt the Magnolia and similar hotels. But in August of 2001 he retracted it after Incarnate Word Academy and Annunciation Catholic Church complained.

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