State board approves demolition of senior living facility at 2100 Memorial

A rendering depicts the initial redesign plans for a senior living facility at 2100 Memorial Drive that flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

A rendering depicts the initial redesign plans for a senior living facility at 2100 Memorial Drive that flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has approved the demolition of an affordable senior living complex that was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and has since faced legal obstacles from residents.

Some of the last remaining tenants at 2100 Memorial Drive, Houston, have until March 1, 2020 to voluntarily move out. If all tenants vacate before then, demolition can take place earlier, TDHCA Director of Asset Management Rosalio Banuelos told board members Sept. 4.

The building, which originally was a repurposed Holiday Inn hotel, will be rebuilt with five stories and 196 units. It will remain in use as an affordable senior living facility, the Houston Housing Authority confirmed. The existing facility had 197 units.

“If this place of went to commercial developers, the prices on the sales or rentals would be astronomical, so it's so good that we're taking this action ... preserving this incredible site for affordable housing,” TDHCA board member Leo Vasquez said.

The decision marks the first significant progress in the project following a two-year long legal battle that tenants initiated after they received notice shortly after Harvey that their leases were terminated and they must vacate the property within five days, court documents state.

Redevelopment of the building will take three years and all former tenants have the right to return when construction is complete, according to the HHA.

To prevent future flooding issues, the new building will be situated on top of “flood-friendly parking” and built 2 feet above the 500-year floodplain.

The tenants’ case


Tenants represented in the lawsuit filed by Lone Star Legal Aid, argued that the 5-day notice they received to vacate the property following Hurricane Harvey was not sufficient enough time to secure affordable housing of an equal quality.

“We lost everything, and then to kick us out on five days notice ... it was just too much. My heart sank,” Seven-year resident Paula Sitter said.

Sitter, who has since relocated, said she keeps in touch with other tenants who also had trouble finding adequate housing.

The HHA maintains the first-floor flood damage sustained after Harvey necessitated the redevelopment of the building.

Lone Star Legal Aid Attorney Richard Tomlinson said his primary goal was receiving an injunction so that tenants could stay for a longer period of time while they found suitable temporary housing.

“Short of a settlement, the state approval was not likely to move forward,” he said.

By the end of August, all tenants on the lawsuit settled out of court with the Houston Housing Authority, Harris County court records show. Tenants secured the right to return to the property when the redevelopment is complete and access to a Houston Authority coordinator to help find suitable temporary housing.


MOST RECENT

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 931 new cases, 34 deaths confirmed Aug. 13

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9.

Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Mask-break areas, limited capacity: Texas Renaissance Festival unveils health guidelines for 46th season

All tickets for the upcoming 46th festival season are date-specific, and no general admission tickets will be sold at the gate.

I-69/Loop 610
I-69 shut down near Loop 610 for weekend work Aug. 14-16

New ramp beams crossing over the freeway will be installed.

The Harris County Annex off Cypresswood Drive is among the buildings that reopened Aug. 10 to offer several services by appointment, including marriage licenses. (Staff photo)
Harris County Clerk's Office reopens annex buildings for services by appointment

Residents can now arrange to get marriage licenses, birth and death certificates and Doing Business As filings at 11 annex buildings located throughout the county.

Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi are co-leading the research team developing a coronavirus vaccine, which now has a licensing agreement with India-based company Biological E. Limited. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Baylor College of Medicine announces licensing agreement for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

India has reported nearly 2.4 million total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic reached its borders.

Houston firefighters marched on City Hall in April 2019 to protest the city's legal battle against Proposition B. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Appeals court denies request for oral arguments in Houston firefighters Proposition B case

The decision is the latest development in a yearslong clash between the city and the firefighters union.

Bludorn
Bludorn sets opening date in former Pass & Provisions, Antone's building

Bludorn will initially open for dinner service by reservation only.

The METRORapid Silver Line will bring expedited service to the Uptown area starting Aug. 23. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO on track to formally launch bus rapid transit service in Uptown on Aug. 23

The METRORapid Silver Line will use a dedicated bus-only lane to connect Uptown to the Northwest and Westpark/Lower Uptown transit centers.

(Courtesy AMC Theatres)
AMC Theatres to reopen Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets

AMC Theatres—which has multiple locations in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—will begin reopening its movie screens Aug. 20.