Demolition day for longtime Houston eyesore

February 7, 2011 3:10:04 PM PST
A neighborhood eyesore is coming down. Work crews began tearing into the Gables of Inwood apartments on Monday morning.

After a three year fight, the apartment complex that officials called a threat to a northwest Houston neighborhood is coming down. It's been vacant for years, and had become a magnet for crime. City leaders say they asked the owner to repair the buildings, but that person never responded.

The demolition of these ten apartment buildings on Holly View and Antoine is a welcome sight for Jonathan and Sheila, even though they used to live in Gables of Inwood for four years.

"The demolition's a good thing, you know," said Jonathan. "The building itself for four strong years, it brought a negative vibe after they shut it down."

"Since they tore them down, it's been an eyesore because they've been remodeling all of these over here. So if they do something with that, it'll be nice too," added Sheila.

The complex sat vacant since 2008 when the city closed it down. There were 1,700 code violations at this complex. Over the years, we covered countless crimes happening in and around the complex.

"When properties are allowed to deteriorate like this, they have major consequences on other things in the neighborhood," said Jim Noteware, head of the City of Houston Housing and Development Department. "By eliminating blight like this, we are giving a boost to everything else in the area."

This is the second apartment complex torn down in this neighborhood in the last six months. It is one of 200 abandoned properties the city plans to demolish this year.

"You have vagrants, you have illegal activities going on, and it's just an eyesore," said Catherine Flowers with the City of Houston.

But now it is coming down. A six-week project that should have positive implications here for the long term, regardless of what goes up in its place. At least that's what long-time residents like Sheila and Jonathan are expecting.

The owner of the property is in California. That owner still owns the land, even though the City of Houston controls what's going on here and the owner has no say.

The owner has a $400,000 lien on this property before he can sell it or do anything else with it.

The city hopes maybe one day it will become a park instead.