Future remains uncertain for 'dangerous' downtown building

A 30 story vacant building in downtown Houston is being called dangerous by city leaders; KHOU 11 reporter Matt Dougherty spoke with a man who has worked across the street from the building for the last 40 years.

A 30-story vacant building in downtown Houston is considered “dangerous” by city leaders.

The building, located at 801 St. Joseph’s Parkway, has been vacant for years. 

One man, Joe Lee Thomas, who owns a bar across the street from the building for the last 38 years says things just keep getting worse.

Thomas says the sidewalk one the side of the building is covered in glass and debris falls from above.

When he bought the bar back in 1979, it had already been open for 34 years.

He renamed it the Downtown Saloon and it catered to guests coming in from across the street at the once-thriving Holiday Inn Hotel.

But as time passed, the Holiday Inn became a Days Inn and as hotel business dried up, ownership changed hands. By the late 1990s, the building was completely vacant and abandoned.

Since then, things have gotten worse with each passing year.

“It’s terrible; and why the city has put up with it as long as they have is beyond me.” Thomas said.

Houston Police said they have responded to more than 20 emergency calls to the location this year alone.

“They’ve been taking the plywood off and young people going in the building and going inside and writing on the walls. So it’s bad. It’s bad.” Said Thomas.

After Tuesday’s meeting between city leaders and the building’s current owners, we spotted workers on the property.

KHOU 11 met with the owners on Tuesday. They didn’t want to go on camera, but did say they have nearly completed an $85 million dollar hotel renovation plan.

However, they said they are still trying to get financing.

They said they have been approved by the parent company of Holiday Inn Hotels to make the property a franchise, but when we checked with the company, they said they could not confirm any agreement at the time.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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