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The West (Beatty-West) Building


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This is great news from the GHPA newsletter, and is online at Greater Houston Preservation Alliance website.

Beatty-West Building

Plans are under way to rehabilitate the 1912 Beatty-West Building at the corner of Main and Walker. The project will include a complete restoration of the building's exterior and will comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. The Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission has approved the building's designation as a City of Houston Historic Landmark.

The six-story reinforced concrete building was designed by architect Henry C. Cooke for David R. Beatty to house Beatty's oil and gas operations. Cooke was also the architect of the 1912 Magnolia Brewery Tap Room and Caf

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Is it me? Or does that small two story building behind the West building look like it's not there anymore? And if so, why is there not a gap where it should be? It looks like the Stowers building was expanded towards main to fill the gap, or something.

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That building is now Stowers. Built in 1922 I think?

It's also in the process of being renovated into office condos. I should take some pictures. I have good roof access across the street on Fannin.

Stowers:

The 125,000-square-foot Stowers Building is located at 820 Fannin at Walker. Spire plans to lease the first two floors of the 10-story building to retail tenants. The 80,000 square feet of space on upper floors will be sold to businesses needing as little as 2,500 square feet, to firms that want to own multiple floors.

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Good catch 2112! I'm thinking maybe the West Building was expanded back to Stowers, but I can't exactly tell by the pictures. Coog, arent' you in Houston Center? By any chance from where you are can you count the windows on the Walker side of the West Building? That would clear it up.

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Yep, I can see it from here.

On the Walker side, there 22 single windows. I think they are group in sets of two.

In the middle, a few are bunched together, which makes me think they did add

on, since it butts up directly to Stowers.

Many windwos are covered by plywood.

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  • 4 months later...

As a knee-jerk preservationist, I usually defend old buildings. Even the plainest can contribute to the fabric of an urban space.

But after taking a long, hard look at the West Building (located at the northeast corner of Walker and Main), I really don't see much to like. With the exception of a couple of brackets at the original roofline, there is little to indicate that the builder had any architectural vision in mind. The top story appears to be a poorly conceived addition. What's up with those silly-ass Corinthian columns, anyway?

This building, coupled with the cruddy grocery store across the street, are the most persistant vestages of the blight that infested Main Street until just a few years ago. Replace it with something better, fix it if you must, or just implode the sucker - but please, it's time for a change!

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Looks like demolition may not be happening - the West Building is slated for renovation.

We'll see if it happens.

Do you remember when this building was covered in a gold aluminum mesh screen? It came off after the fire a few years ago.

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Guest danax
But after taking a long, hard look at the West Building (located at the northeast corner of Walker and Main), I really don't see much to like. With the exception of a couple of brackets at the original roofline, there is little to indicate that the builder had any architectural vision in mind. The top story appears to be a poorly conceived addition. What's up with those silly-ass Corinthian columns, anyway?

This building, coupled with the cruddy grocery store across the street, are the most persistant vestages of the blight that infested Main Street until just a few years ago.

Since it's going to be restored in a historically correct fashion by professionals, it could end up being a real jewel. Have you ever seen any before and after pictures of those Italianate row houses in SF? I think just taking off that ridiculous red banner from the front will make it look 1000% better. Those columns could be Colonial Revival but they do look a little goofy. You really think that top floor is an addition? Maybe it was supposed to look divided like that, kind of like a frieze. The windows seem to match the rest of the floors. Why would they add a floor with matching windows then make a dividing line to make it look separated? Who knows. Maybe someone does here and can educate us. That gray concrete box on the roof hopefully will be removed.

That market across the street is living on borrowed time. I don't see much of a demand for 40 ouncers and grape-flavored condoms in 5 years.

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That market across the street is living on borrowed time. I don't see much of a demand for 40 ouncers and grape-flavored condoms in 5 years.

I just prefer bottled Shiner, but I'm sure they will offer other, more prefered, flavors for the new demographics. :D

Ricco

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Since it's going to be restored in a historically correct fashion by professionals, it could end up being a real jewel. Have you ever seen any before and after pictures of those Italianate row houses in SF? I think just taking off that ridiculous red banner from the front will make it look 1000% better. Those columns could be Colonial Revival but they do look a little goofy. You really think that top floor is an addition? Maybe it was supposed to look divided like that, kind of like a frieze. The windows seem to match the rest of the floors. Why would they add a floor with matching windows then make a dividing line to make it look separated? Who knows. Maybe someone does here and can educate us. That gray concrete box on the roof hopefully will be removed.

That market across the street is living on borrowed time. I don't see much of a demand for 40 ouncers and grape-flavored condoms in 5 years.

It looks like the top floor is original, but the gray concrete box on the roof was a later addition. It probably dates from when the building was expanded back to the Stowers building.

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It looks like the top floor is original, but the gray concrete box on the roof was a later addition.  It probably dates from when the building was expanded back to the Stowers building.

You're probably right. The link you provided shows an early postcard view, and the automobiles and peoples attire seem consistant with the c. 1912 construction date. That weird top floor treatment is there in all its glory.

With professional restoration - assuming that some of the original decorative elements are restored - it will be an asset to Main Street. However, I still think it's no great shakes architecturally.

And yes, that anodized alumiinum screen was quite a sight. What were they thinking?

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  • 1 month later...
Is it me?  Or does that small two story building behind the West building look like it's not there anymore?  And if so, why is there not a gap where it should be?  It looks like the Stowers building was expanded towards main to fill the gap, or something.

I was thinking maybe that was where the original James Coney Island was...ate there alot growing up.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 1 year later...

The outer skin of the building is entirely gone, and the first section of structural steel has been removed from the Main Street side. Seems strange to see a gap in the facades of buildings in that part of Main Street.

If you've ever been curious about how these old steel-framed buildings were constructed, better hurry downtown before it's completely gone. The West Building's steel beams were joined with rivets and bolts, a more time-consuming but sturdier method of fastening than welding.

(The Empire State Building also was constructed in the same way, which is how it withstood an airplane crashing into it in 1945.)

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The San Jacinto building formerly across the street likewise had very sturdy construction and took a while to dismantle. Does anyone have pictures of the partially demolished West Building?

I know it was a bit of an eyesore, but it is sort of a shame to see another old building being demolished (it dates from 1912).

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The San Jacinto building formerly across the street likewise had very sturdy construction and took a while to dismantle. Does anyone have pictures of the partially demolished West Building?

I know it was a bit of an eyesore, but it is sort of a shame to see another old building being demolished (it dates from 1912).

I posted a few photos in the MainPlace thread about 2 weeks ago. Here's the post-specific link

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  • 4 weeks later...
The other day I noticed that the second-floor ceiling has a sort of Googie-style curvy thing going on.

Any idea what used to occupy that space? It's on the south side of the building.

I went to check that out when I was in Houston. It looks like one of Morris Lapidus' famous "woggles".

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  • 10 months later...

Resurrecting an old topic here. Does anyone know what's going up where the Beatty West building was? I was very sorry to see this one go. I had hopes someone could bring it back. I know it was considered run-of-the-mill ugly by many but I kind of liked it. (Without all that banner crap wrapped around it.) Please don't say they're building more lofts/condos. I think I'm just too sentimental to live here. HAA!

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Resurrecting an old topic here. Does anyone know what's going up where the Beatty West building was? I was very sorry to see this one go. I had hopes someone could bring it back. I know it was considered run-of-the-mill ugly by many but I kind of liked it. (Without all that banner crap wrapped around it.) Please don't say they're building more lofts/condos. I think I'm just too sentimental to live here. HAA!

That block was completely demolished except for the Stowers building (Bond building, Montagu Hotel, old Legget's Drugs are also gone).

MainPlace is the name of the skyscraper being built there:

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...showtopic=11978

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  • 2 weeks later...

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