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Metro and its art deco demolition debacle

I saw this Swamplot report yesterday and I thought “Why, Metro, why? Why are you pissing off your supporters so?”

This timely building at 4819 Harrisburg in Eastwood, built in 1935 for the Sterling Laundry & Cleaning Co., showed up in yesterday’s Daily Demolition Report. The architect was Sol R. Slaughter, who also designed a home on the bayou in Idylwood the same year.

The building faces Metro’s new East End Corridor light-rail line. Rice University project manager Spencer Howard writes in with a few details, but isn’t exactly sure what’s going on:

The building was renovated as an artist live/work/gallery just a few years ago.

METRO pledged to save the facade of the building with the clock on it, across from Eastwood Park. They preferred to have someone else buy it and move it, but if that didn’t happen, they were going to move it back on the property and reattach it behind the new setback. Yesterday they sent out the demolition list for next Monday and it was on it. The neighborhood has alerted their gov’t reps.

This building is in the same style as the Alabama Bookstop and River Oaks Theater, in case it’s not clear. I can say on good authority that their government reps have heard the neighborhood’s cries. I am told that one of the permits Metro needed to do this demolition has had a temporary hold placed on it, and that they will need to explain just what the heck they think they’re doing, and why they didn’t bother to tell anyone why and how they went from “move the facade” to “tear the building down”, before anything else can happen. In the meantime, perhaps they can give some serious thought to how they can quit acting like idiots.

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4 Comments

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    Just wait and watch them when the Richmond line begins moving towards a start date. When the condemenation letters start arriving. After the surveyors for the developers who of course will get the land have already arrived. How anyone can even suggest the Metro at this point has any respect for the taxpayers is beyond me. Beyond a lot of people.

    They will do what they want to do. Anywhere they want to do it.

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  3. Mike Harrington says:

    It’s unfortunate. I like art-deco, but I don’t adore it like I do the earlier styles from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    It’s pretty insignificant compared to the destruction caused by the Katy Freeway expansion. Add in all the other Houston freeway projects built since the 1960’s, and you need an electron microscope to measure the effect of this east end demolition notice.

    Hopefully the preservationists and Metro will be able to work something out. I’d contribute a hundred bucks if someone takes up a collection to move it.

    Nevertheless, that line still needs to be built. I don’t want one art deco building stopping this project. The referendum passed in 2003. We’ve had to put up with four years of Tom Delay/George Bush stalling transit projects, and it’s time to get this stuff done.

    Dallas will open 45 miles of light rail in the next four years.

    By the way, I don’t work for Metro or any of its contractors. I’m an accounting programmer at a pressure vessel company in Fort Bend County. Our company doesn’t have anything to do with public transit.

  4. […] art deco facade on the Sterling Laundry & Cleaning Co. on Harrisburg in Eastwood, which had been marked for […]