July 29, 2006
River Oaks Theater update
Via Houstonist, the effort to keep the River Oaks Theater from being demolished has gotten a lot of traction.
In less than a week, an online petition sponsored by the Web site Houstonist.com has attracted more than 13,700 signers.
At Historic Houston's Web site, more than 4,000 individuals have registered to receive e-mail updates about the River Oaks Shopping Center and the Landmark River Oaks Theatre.
City Councilwoman Ada Edwards, whose District D includes the shopping center, said more than 100 letters and e-mail messages have flooded into her office — none of them form letters. She and other council members hope to persuade Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors to change its plans.
"We're going to fight to find a balance between historic preservation and development," Edwards said.
Such issues haven't gotten much traction in Houston, where preservation laws are among the weakest in the country and residents have often watched passively as old buildings are torn down for new development.
"I haven't seen anything like it in the years I've been here," said David Bush, spokesman for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, which set off the furor last week when it named three art-deco landmarks to its Endangered Buildings List: the River Oaks Shopping Center, the Landmark River Oaks Theatre and the Bookstop in the former Alabama Theater.
I don't usually think much of online petitions, but anything that's gotten this many signatures for an entirely local issue is worth noticing. Here's the petition
if you want to join in. Calling your City Council member probably wouldn't hurt, either. Metroblogging Houston
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 29, 2006 to Elsewhere in Houston
Calling your City Council member probably wouldn't hurt, either.
Everyone keeps leaving out the best entity to call: Weingarten.
Signing an online petition is easy and attracts media attention, I guess. But I think if thousands of people called Weingarten to suggest (politely) that they might want to rethink this matter, maybe they will. It's their land. Ultimately it's their decision. It can't hurt to go to the source.
Or pass the hat and buy the center. Is it far-fetched? Sure. But it's a lot more reasonable than moviegoers dictating what a landlord should do with his private property.
"Dictating"? You have an awfully interesting opinion of the power of online petitions. Last I checked, Weingarten was free to do whatever it wanted with its property, regardless of what any petition-signers want. Trying to make them into some kind of victim of oppression is more than a little ridiculous.
Kevin is right about contacting Weingarten directly, and I hope people are doing that. But I think there's significant value in a petition, too, because it allows people to register their opposition to plans to destroy part of Houston's architectural heritage. The fact that thousands of people have done so is what's gotten the media attention.
It is true that no one can dictate what a private landowner should do with his or her property, but people can encourage owners to be good stewards of significant architectural/cultural resources. To me, that's what this whole situation is about.
It may be "their land" but it is our history. The online petition should lead to a real petition to change the City charter to strengthen our preservation laws and to save our historic buildings. Yes - OUR historic buildings.
Last I checked, Weingarten was free to do whatever it wanted with its property, regardless of what any petition-signers want. Trying to make them into some kind of victim of oppression is more than a little ridiculous.
Not really, considering the petition more than hints at using government power to compel Weingarten into a particular course of action.
I hardly think that "We plan to deliver this petition to Weingarten President and CEO Andrew M. Alexander, Barnes & Noble CEO Stephen Riggio, Mayor Bill White and City Councilwomen Ada Edwards and Anne Clutterbuck" indicates an intent to "[use] government power to compel Weingarten into a particular course of action."
The point is to let elected leaders know that X number of Houstonians feel about the situation; if our city government is impressionable enough to begin seizing private property because of some comments in an online petition, we have bigger problems than I thought.
it isn't a question of weingarten having the authority to do what they want with thier property...
of course they do -
but at some point, even corporate hacks should honor a city's sense of history.
but that would be asking too much of these guys - it is all about money after all.
in pasadena, there is a small, frustrated movement to save the capitan, an art moderne movie theater built in the late 40s; the city renovated the exterior but the inside - complete with original fainting sofas, elaborate artwork on ceiling - has been left in dust....but it's beautiful.
you guys are lucky - try fighting a disinterested mayor and poverty....
the renovation of this theater is considered an unnecessary luxury in a smaller city like pasadena.
KAY SARAH SARAH WHATEVER WILL BE WILL BE
Pasadena's Manlove is a dick. He parks in handicapped spaces and grossly underpaid and then laid off a handicapped employee but got away with it because he had just few enough employees to be considered too small to be held to the Americans With Disabilites Act.
As for the theater, I bet it is beautiful, but can you imagine the smell in that location? It's a wonder the pollution hasn't eaten off the new paint of the outside.