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 direction, though I would guess it worked with downtown, rather than trying to advertise from I-10 (and crossing, at the time, three railroads).

The hotel, officially referred to the "Civic Center" Holiday Inn or (in later years) the "Memorial Plaza" Holiday Inn, had 13 floors (likely labeled "ground" and floors one through 12), and less than 300 rooms. (Sources vary on the rooms. The 1970 Hotel & Motel Red Book says 297 but an article in the Houston Post reported 271). It was also operated directly by Holiday Inns of America Inc. itself rather than being a franchised operation. Due to the 1980s economic downturn, the hotel closed in 1986 (indications it shuttered after year-end 1985), and by 1989 it was already considered to be converted to housing for the elderly (according to various articles), though renovation and reopening plans eventually fell through.

In 1998, the property reopened as 2100 Memorial (featuring 197 units made by combining rooms), and was at some point in the early 2010s 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. Some residents did manage to move back in, but others left the building. An article from Houston Public Media mentions that there was still significant flood damage in the lower levels as well as other problems (bed bug infestation, asbestos in walls). In early 2020 the building was evicted and demolition began late November 2021. A newer, lower-rise building (but still 197 units) is to replace it.

Pictures taken in October 2018 by the author.