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GHPA Preservation Alert

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Harris County to consider demolition of two historic buildings

Commissioners Court meeting, 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2009

At its next meeting, Harris County Commissioners Court will consider a contract with Morris Architects to plan the demolition of two historic buildings: the National Register-eligible 1905 Peden Iron & Steel Co. Building [a.k.a. Iron Mountain Warehouse] at 700 North San Jacinto in the Warehouse District and 1923 Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Co. Building at 1311-1319 Texas Avenue downtown.

From the Commissioners Court agenda for Tuesday, March 10, 2009:

c. Construction Programs

3. Recommendation for the County Judge to execute an architectural agreement with Morris

Architects in the amount of $459,900 for the razing of the Hogan Allnoch Building at 1319 Texas

Avenue and Iron Mountain Warehouse at 700 North San Jacinto.

GHPA is encouraging its members to contact County Judge Ed Emmett’s office to express their opposition to the proposed demolitions. Judge Emmett can be reached at 713-755-5000, fax 713-755-8379 or judge.emmett@cjo.hctx.net. His mailing address is:

The Honorable Ed Emmett

Harris County Administration Building

1001 Preston, Suite 911

Houston, Texas 77002

Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 10, on the 9th floor of the Harris County Administration Building 1001 Preston.


Peden Iron & Steel Co. Building (shown in 2007) was designed by the prominent architectural firm C.H. Page & Co., which also designed Houston’s Dow School (1906) and the Fort Bend County Courthouse (1908) along with several other Texas courthouses. In April 2008, at GHPA’s request, Texas Historical Commission (THC) determined the building was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official roster of historic resources deemed worthy of preservation. According to THC, the Peden building is significant for its eclectic Italian Renaissance Revival design and for its role in Houston commerce.

GHPA requested the determination of eligibility out of concern that the building would be demolished for a proposed Harris County/City of Houston inmate processing facility.

The historic building occupies the southwest corner of a much larger site. GHPA proposes the County/City preserve the 1905 building by constructing the new facility around the historically significant portions of the property. The historic building is structurally sound and its open plan could be adapted readily to modern use. GHPA does not object to the demolition of later architecturally unsympathetic additions to the historic building. Plans for the inmate processing facility were delayed in late 2007, when voters rejected a bond issue that would have funded the project.

Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Co. Building (shown ca. 1923) was completed in 1923 for a wholesale company that specialized in menswear. The building is one of Houston’s best surviving examples of Chicago Style architectural design, a commercialindustrial building style popular in the U.S. from ca. 1895 to 1930 when new technology allowed masonry buildings to be constructed with higher ceilings and more open floor space. These types of buildings are easily adapted as “real” lofts.

The building is part of the last intact block of historic structures before the stretch of surface parking lots leading to Union Station and Minute Maid Park. If demolished, the building would be replaced by a parking lot, eliminating the possibility for pedestrian oriented, street-level retail development that would return the property to the tax rolls.

GHPA staff members believe the structure is potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in Commerce and Architecture. If the building were listed on the National Register, an approved renovation for an income-producing project would qualify for significant federal preservation tax credits.



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From the GHPA:

Harris County Commissioners Court has voted to delay action on the proposed demolition of the 1923 Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Co. Building, 1311-1319 Texas Avenue, and the 1905 Peden Iron & Steel Co. Building, 700 N. San Jacinto. Precinct 1 Commissioner El Franco Lee requested the item be withdrawn from the Court's agenda. Commissioners had been scheduled to vote on a contract with Morris Architects to plan the demolition of both buildings.

GHPA Executive Director Ramona Davis appeared before Commissioners Court to ask for the delay. Many GHPA members had also contacted County Judge Ed Emmett in response to a GHPA Preservation Alert questioning the possible demolitions.

Commissioners referred the matter back to the Harris County Facilities & Property Management Division, which will re-evaluate offers by private individuals to purchase and renovate the Hogan-Allnoch Building and examine alternatives to demolition for the Peden Iron & Steel Co. Building.

Thanks to everyone who contacted the County regarding this issue. GHPA will update its members as this matter moves forward.

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Thanks a bunch, everybody. This is clearly the kind of participation in the city that will give passersby the gift of getting to have a greater sense of Houston, hour by hour years off in the future: and through those people, in thousands of concrete thoughts and situations, improve the city's idea of itself.

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  • 8 months later...

A reprieve for Hogan-Allnoch:

Harris County Commissioners voted today to postpone the demolition of the historic Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Co. Building in Downtown Houston, after preservationists voiced strong opposition.

The building, near the corner of Texas Avenue and Austin Street, was constructed in 1923 for a wholesale company that specialized in menswear, according to the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.



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This morning and yesterday morning 88.7 had the (same) story and had short interviews with Ramona Davis and David Smith who is the owner of the Ben Milam Hotel. Every less-than-nice thing I had thought of him over the past several years was solidified after hearing him speak.

He said he's offering $1 million dollars to buy the Hogan Allnoch building for his "big plan" that he's been working on and he eve mentioned the Ben Milam and how he is being careful with his money.

He failed to mention that he has been sitting on the rotting Ben Milam for years and he used his money to demolish its parking garage and build a restaurant in its place instead of putting the $ toward the Ben Milam. Now he's throwing $1 million at another building? He can't even take care of the one he has.

"I want to buy that block, or that part of the block for one million dollars. I would want to buy that building, because it'll tie in with my plans, which have been incubating and working for so many years down the street. I plan to execute them in the next two to five years, but I'm trying to be careful on my financing, but I'm gonna buy it. Cut it at that, subject to terms and I'm not gonna bargain."


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  • 2 months later...

From the GHPA:

There were no bidders at this morning’s public auction of the historic Hogan-Allnoch Dry Goods Company Building, 1319 Texas Avenue near Minute Maid Park. Harris County offered the four-story, 50,000-square-foot building and an adjacent parking lot for sale at a minimum bid of $2.44 million.

County Judge Ed Emmett and County Commissioners agreed to GHPA’s requests to delay demolition two times to give potential buyers the opportunity to come forward.

GHPA sent out notices of the impending auction, GHPA staff visited the building with prospective investors and made sure they had the proper contact information and bid materials. Although potential buyers were enthusiastic about the property and several contacted county officials before the sale, none attended the auction.

Harris County now plans to raze the building for a surface parking lot.

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