Eyesore: Unexplained Cop-and-Graffiti Magnet in Midtown

Categories: Architecture

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The inexplicable building on the Montrose/Midtown cusp
Anyone who takes Gray St. to work and back sees it every day. If you're like Art Attack, you've wondered out loud, "What is it?" and "What was it?" Why is this fenced-up, graffiti-marred, inexplicable building still standing amid the massive amount of development this area (Midtown's eastern edge) has seen over the decade? The yellowed plaster-and-brick-with-maroon-trim eyesore, next to a closed road, occupies virtually an entire block, just flush with a postcard-size piece of slum, the last bastion of history in the gentrification of Freedman's Town.

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Does the graffiti cleanup budget match the city's take from traffic tickets?
There's a circular structure front and center, suggesting a box office--but for what? Most likely a club of some sort. But even then, it's difficult to tell.

And its apparent preservation begs the question: Who owns it?

It wouldn't surprise us if the city was sitting on it for some purpose, because the only thing the building seems good for is staking out speed traps. Apparently it's the perfect visual barrier for cops to park behind and bust drivers heading east on Gray in the morning. But for the amount of graffiti it attracts, we wonder how the cleanup budget compares to the building's ability to provide city funds from moving violations. This is an unattractive and sketchy spot that screams "corruption."

Are we missing something? Just paranoid? Any answers out there? artsblog@houstonpress.com

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