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WestGrayGuy

Old Central Bank Building

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I have confirmed through sources in the know: there are no current plans to demolish the building. The activity that has been going on is also not part of any redevelopment project. The building's status may or may not change in the near future, but I can say nothing else, so don't ask.

hooray! happy to hear it... how old is the digiclock on the

roof? i love that damn thing!

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def con 1 through 5 determined how close we were to world war three during the cold war, at least in the movie "war games" with mathew broderick. i'm not sure if that was actual military terminology or not. it may have been short for defensive condition?

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Hey y'all. I'm back, sort of. I live in California again. I just ran across these pictures I took a awhile ago and thought I might share them, as I recall someone expressing a like for the Central Square sign. Well, here they are.

Second one is from the roof of the Central Square, looking north. With my neighbor and enemy, the 22 story inpenetrable fortress that is the Days Inn.

I can not believe they put that head on the lawn of the Savoy. The first words out of my mouth "Only in Houston."

-sean

haif1.jpg

haif2.jpg

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welcome back! thanks for posting the pictures!

We miss you SqautterKid. Come back and do some more squatting. We love your posts and especially your pictures. Goodluck in Cali.

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I've got something for all you architecture lovers out there...take a look at what is tucked away in Central Square.

cs1vb9.jpg

Gotta love those bannisters.

Can't say where I got this...just be happy with what you've got. There'll probably be many more to come.

EDIT: Incidentally, the only way that anything at all will ever happen with this building is if either a non-profit or an architecture firm decide to make it their pet project. Morris tried, but the owner was just too much of an asshole for their taste/pocketbook.

Edited by TheNiche
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it just pains me to see it sit...and sit...and sit.

it just keeps getting worse on the inside, and now that there's the reinforced boards on the first-level windows, the rot inside is surely baking into something really disgusting, from the basement up.

it's one of those buildings from which you don't want to be down-wind ^_^

Edited by sevfiv

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it just pains me to see it sit...and sit...and sit.

it just keeps getting worse on the inside, and now that there's the reinforced boards on the first-level windows, the rot inside is surely baking into something really disgusting, from the basement up.

it's one of those buildings from which you don't want to be down-wind ^_^

The exterior (where bums sleep) smells like a dog recently gave birth.

The lobby and 2nd floor aren't as bad as you'd think. No noticable odor, at least...doesn't mean that there isn't mold. Didn't see the basement, but I know that it has flooded and that the sumps weren't functioning at the time...

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The exterior (where bums sleep) smells like a dog recently gave birth.

The lobby and 2nd floor aren't as bad as you'd think. No noticable odor, at least...doesn't mean that there isn't mold. Didn't see the basement, but I know that it has flooded and that the sumps weren't functioning at the time...

the first floor wasn't terrible (but it did smell), but it had rained recently, which made everything nice.

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it would be fantastic if it could look like this again (instead of having bad stewardship :angry: )

cencom001.jpg

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it would be fantastic if it could look like this again (instead of having bad stewardship :angry: )

cencom001.jpg

Wow. Thanks for posting the postcard.

To blame it on the owners for 'bad stewardship' is kind of unfair (no matter how much I despise the current owner). The cost of even obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy would be a hellish endeavor, and at the price that the owner wants, it isn't happening anytime soon. Until it is occupied, the best they can even afford to do to be good stewards is to keep the bums out and to check it regularly. You'd be surprised at what their operating costs are, even as it is.

Unfortunately, that entails the third-world accoutrement (i.e. barbed wire and such).

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To blame it on the owners for 'bad stewardship' is kind of unfair (no matter how much I despise the current owner). The cost of even obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy would be a hellish endeavor, and at the price that the owner wants, it isn't happening anytime soon. Until it is occupied, the best they can even afford to do to be good stewards is to keep the bums out and to check it regularly. You'd be surprised at what their operating costs are, even as it is.

who are the owners? the hcad description isn't very telling.

and i think it is completely fair to blame the owners (stewards) of the property (which isn't in great condition, and very much in the abandoned category).

if it is not their responsibility to keep it up, then who gets that honor?

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who are the owners? the hcad description isn't very telling.

and i think it is completely fair to blame the owners (stewards) of the property (which isn't in great condition, and very much in the abandoned category).

if it is not their responsibility to keep it up, then who gets that honor?

As I recall, the HCAD listing accurately shows the owner's contact info in Bronxville, NY. I don't recall his name, however. But he is a fairly recent owner and purchased it in the condition that it is in.

The fact that a building is abandoned has much less to do with the choice of an owner (especially in this case because the owner bought it as a derelict building) and everything to do with the fact that its highest and best uses (office or residential) do not command prices/rents high enough to justify the enormous investment necessary to bring the building back up to par. The floorplans and views aren't very conducive to high-end residential because many views are impeded by the parking garage or solid concrete walls. Also, there are still too many large chuncks of office space in downtown office towers that are of higher quality and with better locations. The parking garage would have to be restriped with fewer spaces, so their parking ratio would also be a limiting factor.

The only way in which the owner is being a bad steward is by asking too high a price for it. In that respect, he is an as***** because he's keeping it on the market longer than necessary. In every other respect, however, the 3rd world accoutrement is there largely to prevent bums from infiltrating the building and turning the interior into a true rat hole. I'd have been especially concerned about the possibility of arson if I were him. There's still a fair bit of fire load on many floors.

I'm hesitant to apply some sort of arbitrary "stewardship" clause to an already-dubious "social contract". Unless the building actually poses a risk to the public health, I see no reason to force an owner to do something with it that makes no financial sense. Its one thing if the City were to require that he maintain the skin of the building so as to prevent spalling concrete from raining down upon pedestrians below, but "stewardship" ordinances may have unintended consequences. For instance, the building will be rehabbed relatively quickly once the market supports it, but what do you think would happen to the building if the owner's holding costs became excessive in the interim?

Wrecking ball.

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The fact that a building is abandoned has much less to do with the choice of an owner (especially in this case because the owner bought it as a derelict building) and everything to do with the fact that its highest and best uses (office or residential) do not command prices/rents high enough to justify the enormous investment necessary to bring the building back up to par.

then "HDW 2000 1392 3RD AVE LLC" shouldn't have taken it on by buying it :mellow:

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then "HDW 2000 1392 3RD AVE LLC" shouldn't have taken it on by buying it :mellow:

I think he's just an investor, nothing more. Got it for a legitimately good price and has been trying to flip it just about ever since. Arbitrage. Its all about the $$$.

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Recalling the lost information from the Lucian Hood III posts, architect Lars Bang had established a firm and Lucian Hood, Jr. later joined it. They had designed the office building in the Rice Village and the Big Doughnut shop, now the Marquies, on Bissonnet, west of Kirby, once shown on this site, and many other buildings and houses.

off topic, but did Bang+Hood design the office building on Bolsover in the Village? (green tile, just demolished)

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A resident of 1016main told me an interesting story the other day while we hung out on his balcony. One afternoon, a military helicopter landed on the roof and 4 soldiers or SWAT did a roof sweep and then proceeded to sweep the building. They had assualt rifles but he said no shots were fired, or at least from what he could hear. About 5 minutes later they reappeared on the roof and took off. So we could only speculate that the military/police are occasionally using the building for training excercises and if so, does the property owner know?

:ph34r:

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So we could only speculate that the military/police are occasionally using the building for training excercises and if so, does the property owner know?

More importantly, which nation's military??

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A resident of 1016main told me an interesting story the other day while we hung out on his balcony. One afternoon, a military helicopter landed on the roof and 4 soldiers or SWAT did a roof sweep and then proceeded to sweep the building. They had assualt rifles but he said no shots were fired, or at least from what he could hear. About 5 minutes later they reappeared on the roof and took off. So we could only speculate that the military/police are occasionally using the building for training excercises and if so, does the property owner know?

:ph34r:

It's just training by one of HPD's SWAT units. The owner gets a little money for it when they use it, and they've been using it for at least a couple years.

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off topic, but did Bang+Hood design the office building on Bolsover in the Village? (green tile, just demolished)

That was the Texas Gas Building at 2472 Bolsover. Lars Bang remembers Alfred Finn as the architect. Stephen Fox called Finn a local yokel once. The building was extremely well built and easily maintained. It should have been worked into the new scheme. It had all the features everyone wants today except the pseudo Mediterranean facade. It had the parking along the front, the sidewalk restaurants and retail on the first floor and offices above. All the floors were beautiful terrazo. I have about 30 photos, including the restrooms, from several years ago. Many architectural firms were located there. Another example of a substantial building with character and integrity replaced with a poorly designed monotonous piece of generic nothingness.

Edited by SpaceAge
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I have about 30 photos, including the restrooms, from several years ago. Many architectural firms were located there.

Thank you for the reply - as for the photos...new thread? :)

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It's just training by one of HPD's SWAT units. The owner gets a little money for it when they use it, and they've been using it for at least a couple years.

Ah i had a friend who went in to "explore" it a few weeks ago.

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Just mindblowing how this building (well, technically a complex with the parking garage and whatnot) that occupies an entire city block just outside the CBD is used for nothing but an occasional SWAT drill.

Not worth saving, not worth tearing down. What a catch-22.

Squatters breaking into the site of a rich oil fatcat club killed off by the bust in the '80s and drinking their leftover Remy Martin makes an interesting slice of Houston history, at least.

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Just mindblowing how this building (well, technically a complex with the parking garage and whatnot) that occupies an entire city block just outside the CBD is used for nothing but an occasional SWAT drill.

Not worth saving, not worth tearing down. What a catch-22.

Just 3/4 of the block, but yes, it is funny how between having a screwball owner and some difficult floorplates to work with, this thing is in perpetual limbo.

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I live not far from these buildings and sometimes to me they are eyesores and other times they have potential. Maybe some big bucks type could make them a comination commerical and residental, or hotel.

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http://thewholesalepropertylist.com/high-rise-in-downtown-houston/

Highlights:

  • Nine Elevators
  • Three Entrances
  • Spectacular Views of Downtown Houston
  • Individual HVAC Units
  • One block from Light Rail Servicing the Medical Center and Downtown
  • Only a few blocks from the popular Houston Theatre and Museum District
  • One block from Randall’s Signature Supermarket and Shopping Center
About the Property:
Central Square Plaza was previously known as Central Bank Building. Central Square Plaza is uniquely located at the entrance to Midtown Houston and has a fabulous view of Downtown Houston. Both the Midtown and Downtown Houston are experiencing a renaissance creating a strong demand for residential units. This has led to the creation of several new developments and the conversion of existing structures that had not previously been utilized as residential property. We believe that Central Square Plaza is uniquely situated for such conversion.
The Numbers:
  • ARV: $62,500,000
  • Repairs: $26,384,112
  • Asking Price: $12,000,000

Bottom Line:

Great repositioning opportunity with $20M or more of profit potential!

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eh, my guess is nothing for a long while. But maybe I'm just being a pessimist.

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eh, my guess is nothing for a long while. But maybe I'm just being a pessimist.

If you click on the Central Square flyer it says "one of the eye sores in this location has been the Grey Hound Bus Station, which has just gone up for sale as they are relocating." Can anyone confirm this to be true?

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nice find... should really help the area if true

If you click on the Central Square flyer it says "one of the eye sores in this location has been the Grey Hound Bus Station, which has just gone up for sale as they are relocating." Can anyone confirm this to be true?

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If you click on the Central Square flyer it says "one of the eye sores in this location has been the Grey Hound Bus Station, which has just gone up for sale as they are relocating." Can anyone confirm this to be true?

I did read somewhere that a new facility was built on the east side and the Mexican bus station would be relocated there...and maybe the Greyhound?

My memory is failing me.

edit: found it http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7281999.html

Edited by roadrunner

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I did read somewhere that a new facility was built on the east side and the Mexican bus station would be relocated there...and maybe the Greyhound?

My memory is failing me.

edit: found it http://www.chron.com...ss/7281999.html

You sure know how to cheer me up in the morning! The article sounds like it opened last Tuesday... but I've still seen buses operating out of both the Greyhound and Americanos terminals in Midtown. Anyone else have info on this? This would be HUGE for the area.

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If you click on the Central Square flyer it says "one of the eye sores in this location has been the Grey Hound Bus Station, which has just gone up for sale as they are relocating." Can anyone confirm this to be true?

Central Square calling the Greyhound station an eyesore, lmao!

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I did read somewhere that a new facility was built on the east side and the Mexican bus station would be relocated there...and maybe the Greyhound?

My memory is failing me.

edit: found it http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7281999.html

I didn't see the greyhound buses but the mex company is part of greyhound. Either way... it's a disgracing eyesore. Right across is some game rooms, a seedy nightclub, an immigration attny, a 24-hour check cashing place, and a taco stand. ugh.

The good news is that midtown is cleaning up a little.

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i don't read the article to say that the west gray location is closing (although i would certainly welcom that news). it appears to me that this east side station was operating out of the west gray location while the demo and rebuilt was being completed, and now that it is, they have moved back to the east side location.

i thought i read that metro was planning to move everything north of town. it's been a while since ive heard anything about that, so i thought it was dead. i could be mistaken though.

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i don't read the article to say that the west gray location is closing (although i would certainly welcom that news). it appears to me that this east side station was operating out of the west gray location while the demo and rebuilt was being completed, and now that it is, they have moved back to the east side location.

i thought i read that metro was planning to move everything north of town. it's been a while since ive heard anything about that, so i thought it was dead. i could be mistaken though.

yeah, that's what I got out of it too.

I recall that northside transit hub as well.

I've also been party to rumors about the bus station closing for years, I just ignore them and eagerly await it imploding, and sucking that mc donnalds into whatever abyss it goes in to.

Edited by samagon
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Right now it's in a pretty good spot for intermodal transit. Downtown transit center is right across the freeway going all over the city, and it sits on the rail too. Nice central location. Maybe it can be moved to the Burnett rail station when North Line opens.

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The trees along Gray St. have been fenced off for the sidewalk upgrades. The city will be fixing up the sidewalks along Gray from Brazos east down to Main and has done some preliminary surveying, sawcuts, and markings already.

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Is it just me or do these scenes look Silent Hill-ish?

For those who share my ignorance, this appears to be a video game based on a dystopian, post-appoloptic vision.

The trees along Gray St. have been fenced off for the sidewalk upgrades. The city will be fixing up the sidewalks along Gray from Brazos east down to Main and has done some preliminary surveying, sawcuts, and markings already.

I hope the city is investing wisely. The demolition of Central Bank might un-do some of these improvements.

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I hope the city is investing wisely. The demolition of Central Bank might un-do some of these improvements.

If civic infrastructure is damaged by the demolition of a building, the owner of the building being demolished bears the burden of indemnity. The thought had crossed my mind that this may just be the 'Powers That Be' giving the finger to this building owner, since these costs would be subtracted directly out of the value of his property.

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