December 21, 2008
Saving the water wall

Glad to hear it.

It may have cost $8.5 million, but the city now can safely say that the Water Wall near the Galleria is safe from being razed and potentially turned into another high-rise or shopping center.

Within the past year, that was far from a certainty. Officials with the Uptown Development Authority and the city had been negotiating to buy the 3-acre plot that houses the 64-foot wall and the surrounding park before it was put on the market last year.

Eventually, the land was acquired along with the Williams Tower by a subsidiary of Hines Interests, one of the Houston-based companies that originally helped develop it. Hines has agreed to sell the wall and park to the city. The deal still requires approval from City Council.

"I'm sure the number of Houstonians and tourists is over a million who have visited the water wall, had dates and picnics and many weddings," Mayor Bill White said. "This is now a landmark of the city and if we waited to make an offer until the land was sold and bulldozers came in, the taxpayers would have to pay an exorbitant amount to preserve it."

We sure we didn't need another strip center? Maybe a nice new Barnes and Nobles to go with it? I hear they're so much better for us than those boring old historic structures.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 21, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston

What was interesting was the appraisal. HCAD appraised the property at $3 million and yet according to Hines it has a market value of $24 million.

And homeowners wonder why they pay so much in taxes on their overvalued property.

It's because they have to make up for the taxes not paid by commercial property owners on their undervalued property.

Posted by: baby snooks on December 21, 2008 8:56 AM

The water wall was still new and unknown when I was a senior in high school. It's weird for me to think of it as a historic structure.

Posted by: Ginger Stampley on December 21, 2008 12:39 PM

It will always be the "Transco Fountain" to me. I have some great high school memories from that wall. I guess given that they're 20+ years ago, that makes the fountain historic. At least in Houston.

Posted by: Ellen Daehnick on December 23, 2008 9:46 AM

It is hard to define what is historic or not in a fairly young town. It's too bad that so much money was paid though to preserve a landmark. It seems that they should have some considerations for this.

Posted by: Libby | Wall fountains on February 25, 2009 11:47 AM
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