The Top Five Biggest Blights on the Houston Skyline

Categories: Surreal Estate

blight-main.jpg
Photo by Jeff Balke
See how nice that looks with nothing in the way?
Houston gets a lot of negative publicity for things like sprawl, pollution and other problems common to urban areas short on zoning and long on business interests. Notable, however, is the downtown skyline, which, for all the issues our city faces, is one of the more distinctive features Houston has.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that stand in the way of our collective view. These blights on the skyline, some easily solved, others not so much, stain an otherwise attractive portion of our not-always-that-attractive city.

Here are our top five blights on the Houston skyline.

5. Abandoned Buildings

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Photo by joe_stephens_3

Most cities suffer from the scourge of developers who walk away from buildings only to leave them rotting. Many cannot be renovated and the exorbitant cost to have them demolished makes clearing room for another building or even a parking lot difficult. Two of the worst offenders are the former Central Square Apartments (2100 Travis) and the Savoy Hotel (1616 Main), the latter of the two an addition to the original hotel that was demolished in 2009.

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13 comments
Kyle
Kyle

I cherish all our visual blight.

Manxlucky
Manxlucky

The completely disgusting former Holiday Inn downtown. You can practically smell the urine soaked carpet from the Pierce elevated.

Andrea
Andrea

Biggest blight on the Houston skyline in my book - The Royalton, the condos/apartments that stand where the beautiful Gulf Coast Publishing building used to lounge so languidly along the curve of Allen Parkway. The weird space crown/alien transmitter/fruit basket on top? Visitors making dangerous - and likely illegal - left turns onto westbound Allen Parkway? The completely mismatched porte-cochère that seems to be the love child of the Taj Mahal and a Renaissance grotto? Blight, blight, blight.

Suds
Suds

The cross seems pretty tame compared to the graffiti on the old Holiday Inn. Then again maybe we should count our blessings. St. Joseph's is a Catholic hospital. The Catholics normally still have Jesus hanging on the cross, so it could be worse.

Xudax
Xudax

London has a ferris wheel.

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

None of these are half as bad as that hideous neon green building our undistinguished friends in Dallas can lay claim to.

Smedley
Smedley

I kinda always liked the Savoy-Field hotel and the now late Savoy building. I used to look at them through binoculars from Travis Tower (which used to be a pretty hideous looking building itself) half expecting to see creepy things going on beyond the curtains. I'd seen some interesting pictures and heard from a few squatters that the chandelier in the still standing building occasionally flickers on.

SL
SL

The abandoned buildings & George R. Brown up close, maybe, but the others are really pretty insignificant. What really blocks the downtown skyline is, well, *everything* between you & it! Because Houston is so freakin' flat, and there's no wide body of water next, a few trees and townhouses are enough to hide that beautiful vista. Places like Seattle have enough hills that you're always bumping into some stunning vantage point. There are a few moments on the elevated spots of some of the roads where it all is suddenly revealed, but that's about it.

Jearthman
Jearthman

The HCC building from the second floor view from the Continental Club.

Mike N.
Mike N.

The worst thing about that cross is that it is completely unproportional (the top part is too short compared to the bottom part). Every time I look at it I cringe for that reason alone. Though I should also be thankful there isn't a 10 story high Jesus nailed to it in graphic, Mel Gibson-esque detail.

Urumomo
Urumomo

do tell .. what's that ?

Urumomo
Urumomo

i love Houston . born here . Methodist Hospital , 1967 . Shell Plaza was IT ! ! the tallest . She still looks good. and TransCo will always be TransCo . the flatness requires a little shuffling to get the best vantage but I lived in snow country and don't miss it .Spring here makes you forget how fucking hot this town gets in the summer. I always joke about WHY anyone would have stayed here before A/C.

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