Saturday, August 13, 2016

From Heaven on Earth to Visions of Holi Day Inn Redemption

Reflection: End of Day's Inn

The old no-longer-so Holy Days Inn has been sitting not pretty, but stripped, on Saint Joseph's Parkway, biding its time.... Transcending onward toward oblivion from its final earthbound sojourn as a Yogi retreat. Now the Houston Chronicle - itself recently departed from another city block still, for now, occupied by a partially gutted architectural relic - informs us that the storied St. Joe's Inn is making "another run at new life.

A case of wishful visions by a fading observer of all things local? A prescient comment on the renaissance potential of a 30-story corpus of an estate by an esteemed member of the Fourth, whose future is also uncertain? -- What the hotel! Time will tell.

Heaven on Earth
 with Black Birds
On the ground and two dozen and some floors up, any movement currently seems to be rather minute; limited to a few workers making their way up and down the cubby-holed elevator-deprived eyesore situated in the underbelly -- rather than the heart -- of the Central Business District.

No cranes in sight, soaring; -- only starlings.

Chroncom quotes the owner as saying that they are in the process of rehabbing the building, but that the hunt for a franchisor is still on. And while we are on the topic, it might be added that some re-habbing might also benefit the laterally mobile population that regularly pounds and waters the surrounding pavement.

According to HCAD, the net rentable area (out of 477,400 SF) is zero, and the parking garage is "unsound" . Old news has it that the electrical equipment took a hit, or rather some muddy water, in Tropical Storm Allison.

Think Facelift 


Harris County real estate records reflect that the current owner of 801 St Joseph Parkway is SFK DEVELOPMENT INC., which acquired the property from BEAUMONT MEDICAL CENTER HOTEL LLC a few years back. Nadeem Nasir, quoted by Chroncom as the representative of the property owner is listed as an officer for both. In October 2012 he signed the special warranty deed that transferred the property to the new corporate owner with retroactive effectiveness to November 2011. The conveyance involved the land and the carcass sitting on it "as is", which is to say with all faults and graffiti, and all makeshift hobo, tagger, and urban skater exclusion devices, however ineffective.

Keli was here and left his mark
Earlier in 2016, King KELI (or was it LORD, or LYNX perhaps?) briefly staked a claim to the building, but the deed was done on the roof, not at the title company offices, with spray cans rather than wet ink on paper as the means of consummation.

Both the legal validity and artistic quality of the deed were questionable. Unlike Gonzo247, Keli wasn't sanctioned. His lofty exploit was deemed neither an Art Attack of epic proportions; nor an amiable act of Aerosol Warfare. So the lettering on the launch pad atop the defunct heaven-to-earth facility was promptly whitewashed, save for a little red flag, which remains.
But then again, the facts are malleable just as the views are ephemeral. It might just have been a teenager's prank  for the benefit or embarrassment of his girl, without any deeper urban turf undertones. Not to mention that all the action went on up high.


Tongue in cheek has it that the soaring eyesore of a hotel has haunted-house potential for Halloween. (Chroncom, now harking from a reburbished fortress on the Loop, even invokes Post and Apocalypse.) Another theory holds that the property has matured sufficiently to be ready for classy connoisseurs.

Bevy on the Block #388 
Whatever the reason may be, this choice city block -- not far from the spiffed-up Passport Building of late Mickey fame and the new Y -- chalked up a respectable increase of about $800,000 in appraised value from 2015 to 2016.

Perhaps it's the tax dollars that are now doing the talking. With a heftier property tax bill to remind the current owners of what high-priced an asset they have been sitting on, it makes sheer bottom-line sense to put the thing back into motion, and into the stream of commerce. Just in time for the Super Bowl. Though it would seem a little late to cash in on the surge-pricing opportunity to be caused by the highly anticipated spike in room demand.

North-facing facade with the new Y in foreground center-right 

Former Days Inn seen from Jefferson Street - Cullen Center
Jefferson's perspective 
Across the parking log, an abandoned Heaven on Earth 
ity of Houston Block 388 bounded by St Joseph Parkway (S); Jefferson St (N); Milam Street (W) and Travis St (E)
City of Houston Block 388 bounded by St Joseph Parkway (S); Jefferson St (N); Milam Street (W) and Travis St (E) 

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