Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Great Expectations for the Great Southwest Building (Photo Gallery)

FORMER PETROLEUM BUILDING TO BE REDEVELOPED  

Houston has lost several historic buildings in recent years: The old Ben Milam hotel at the MinuteMaid Stadium across the Westin, the Fannin Tower, the Foley's Store on Main, the Houston Club Building, and most recently, the more than 100-years old Incarnate Word Catholic Girls School Building. Luckily, it looks like another major historic landmark -- the former Petroleum Building, now known as the Great Southwest Bldg, at 1314 Texas Ave -- will not only be saved from the wrecking ball, but will receive a major renovation and upgrade.

In what is called "adaptive reuse", a Dallas developer that has rehabbed other historic buildings, including a former federal building and post office in Dallas, TODD INTERESTS, is set to acquire the Great Southwest Building and convert it to residential use. If the deal goes through, the conversion will benefit from the DOWNTOWN LIVING INITIATIVE which grants developers favorable property tax treatment for new residential projects in Downtown. The program has attracted not just lively interest, but has already come to fruition, with numerous high and mid-rise residential projects in various stages toward completion.

The incentive program is, in part, responsible for the current building boom in the Central Business District that portends a much more vibrant urban core in the near future. The challenge will no longer be to persuade suburbanites that a night Downtown can be fun. Instead the future denizens of Downtown will collectively make up a critical mass to support Downtown restaurants, bars, and retail. Contemporaneously, the hospitality and convention sector is also upping capacity with new hotel construction. (Marriott Marquis Houston Convention Center, Hotel Alessandra) and several redevelopments of existing buildings, including the Humble Building, the Stowers Building and the former Savoy Hotel, following the model of the redevelopment of the 1910 Carter Building into a JW Marriott, which was completed in 2014).



Petroleum Builing - Interpretive Marker with historic photo on sidewalk



Hopefully, the exterior form and appearance of the Great Southwest Building will be preserved so that it will remain recognizeable as the historic landmark it is.
Parking garage on South side 
STREET LEVEL VIEWS ON THE NORTH SIDE 
ENTRANCE ON TEXAS AVE 
AND FIRST-FLOOR RESTAURANT 




IRMA'S SOUTHWEST GRILL 
ON NORTH-EAST CORNER OF GREAT SOUTHWEST BUILDING 


Side-walk seated at Irma's Grill 

GREAT SOUTHWEST MIRROR IMAGE 

Reflection of Great Southwest Building in windows at Houston Center

View of the historic landmark from the West (El Big Bad on Travis) 


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