Thursday, October 25, 2018

2100 Memorial

2100 Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive once was the busiest road in Houston during the 1960s prior to the opening of the Katy Freeway, but the road was removed from the freeway plan by the early 1950s and the Holiday Inn opened in 1969 (according to Harris County Appraisal District), within months of Katy Freeway opening. As a result, the hotel (already only one way to access the front of the hotel) was left with terrible access points no matter the access.

The hotel, referred to the "Civic Center" Holiday Inn or the "Memorial Plaza" Holiday Inn (sources vary), had 13 floors (likely labeled "ground" and floors one through 12), and less than 300 rooms1. It was also operated directly by Holiday Inns of America Inc. itself rather than being a franchised operation. Details are unavailable if it changed hands before it closed permanently in 1986, and by 1989 it was already considered to be converted to housing for the elderly, though renovation and reopening plans fell through.2

In 1998, the property reopened as 2100 Memorial, and was at some point repainted burgundy from beige. The flooding and subsequent fire control damage from Hurricane Harvey nearly closed 2100 Memorial until courts ordered the building to stay open and make repairs. Pictures taken in October 2018 by the author.

1. Sources vary on the rooms. The 1970 Hotel & Motel Red Book says 297 but an article in the Houston Post reported 271.
2. Various articles found through NewsBank.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Commons at Greenspoint

12001-12245 Interstate 45 (North Freeway)

Previously, this content was posted on the Houston Architecture Forums in two posts: "Children's Palace at Greenspoint Commons" and "The Commons at Greenspoint". Built in 1989 right at the time Greenspoint Mall (and the surrounding area) was declining, The Commons at Greenspoint was a modern power center some of the trendy "big box" stores at the time, though many folded by the early 1990s. A listing from the 1990-1991 directory outlined most of the addresses of the stores.

12001 - Media Play (originally built as Phar-Mor)
12009 - Suzannes Shops
12025 - Office Depot
12031 - Sportstown (a chain that went bankrupt in the mid-1990s)
12061 - Highland Superstore (went bankrupt in 1992 and closed all stores by the end of 1993)
12075 - Cloth World (opened 10,000 square foot store in 1990)
12145 - Houston Photolab (this is probably one of the smaller stores)
12159 - Hit or Miss (owned by the parent company of T.J. Maxx, but smaller)
12167 - Sound Warehouse
12175 - Marshalls
12181 - Pier One Imports (stand-alone store close to I-45)
12231 - Marcos Mexican Restaurant
12245 - Children's Palace (see above ad, closed 1992)

Notes from the Chronicle mentioned a few more things:
- Clothestime was here (clothing store), it closed in 1995
- By 1996, Media Play was closed along with other Houston locations ( Almeda Square, Memorial City Mall, Meyer Park Center, Presidio Square and Westchase Center.)
- There was also a store here called Computer City.
- When the center was sold in 1998 to be a telecommunications center, Office Depot was still there.

Greenspoint Technology Center, as it was known from 1999 on, even featured an outpost of Enron and other telecommunications companies but still resembled a strip mall. In 2013, new buildings were built on the parking lot and the property was sealed off from public access.

(Right click to see the image in full size)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Hollywood

17050 Imperial Valley Drive

This apartment complex is typical of the Greenspoint area apartment complexes, one of the inexpensively built apartments built in the 1970s for the Greenspoint area and hit hard by the oil crash in the early 1980s never to really recover. It was built as the Woodvalley Apartments in 1977 (316 units), and by the mid-1980s considered to be "deteriorating". In 1985, it received a significant upgrade where it became "The Hollywood" and even in 1989 (according to the Houston Post article "Latest marketing ploy? A poolside beach") had 90% occupancy. This was more than a name change and a repaint, the new name came with "lush California landscaping", with other amenities including "fountains, reflecting pools, an outdoor poolside amphitheater, waterfalls, sand volleyball, lighted tennis courts and even an imposing entry gate".

However, by the mid-1990s, it was known as Summerlin and was now a "Section 8" apartment (based on a government document detailing such apartments from 1994-1996, still found on the Internet). Ownership change history indicates that the namechange to Summerlin came in the early 1990s and to Biscayne at CityView in the mid-2000s. The apartment also absorbed 17030 Imperial Valley (214 units), built in 1978, and today known as Biscayne at CityView II, but marketed as part of Biscayne. This apartment complex was known as Sunlight by 1986 (it possibly had another name that predated that, but that is still unknown at this point) and seems to have kept that name before being absorbed into Biscayne at CityView.

Current Street View, notice the palm trees from the Hollywood days

Thursday, October 4, 2018

290 / Beltway 8 Demolition - Wendy's

16055 Northwest Freeway

This is the second of at least three posts on a small collection of fast food restaurants which the author has taken a personal interest in, to be further explored in a future post on the Northwest Freeway site (this link will be updated soon to reflect that). The Wendy's was among the three fast food sites and others on the south side of Highway 290 to be leveled for road widening. According to HCAD, the Wendy's was opened in 1984 and had the "solarium" design as Wendy's had during that time. It is unknown if the tarp was put on the solarium before or after it closed, as the windows made it harder to heat and cool the building (there was no tarp in 2011). The restaurant closed around fall 2012, and was demolished within months of when these pictures were taken in March 2013 by the author. Previously, these photos appeared on Carbon-izer and Brazos Buildings & Businesses.

Street View of Wendy's still in operation