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Houston: A/E Services for Demolition Documents Issued for 13-Story County Jail

Feature Photo (above): View of the 1301 Franklin Street 13-story building from across the Harris County Jury Plaza. Image: Google Streets.

Posted: 9-10-2019

by Adolfo Pesquera

Houston (Harris County)–The Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized their purchasing agent to issue a Request for Qualifications for architectural and engineering services to develop demolition construction documents for the former jail at 1301 Franklin Street.

The 13-story downtown building, constructed in 1980, only functioned as a jail for 22 years. It closed in 2002 after state inspectors found the smoke removal system inadequate.

In 2009, Commissioners Court accepted a consultant’s recommendation to demolish the building.

In the years since it was retired as a corrections facility, the county has used portions of the building to house various functions of the Sheriff’s Office and the District Clerk.

The existing 602,969-square-foot building has a concrete structure with brick/masonry exterior as well as a basement, penthouse, pedestrian and inmate tunnel/bridge connection.

In addition to being adjacent to the county civil and criminal court towers, the building is less than a block from Buffalo Bayou and has long been considered a lucrative location for commercial development. The jail and other nearby county buildings have been a topic of speculation for years at HoustonArchitecture.com:

“For anyone who has not been on this site, you should go down and see the view of downtown, the property itself and the proximity to the bayou. I just think there is a much better land use than jail and courthouses. This site would provide room for residences in an attractive section of the bayou, especially if we could get Franklin rerouted to Preston or Washington.
“Larger infrastructure projects are tackled all the time. The county owns most of the land along Commerce and Franklin¬† east of the courthouses, and could trade a property with the city so a new county/city mixed use facility could be built. It would be convenient to all of the courthouses and allow the Post Office site to become a positive space instead of another jail.” — Bob Russ/posted May 3, 2014.

The former downtown county jail at 1301 Franklin Street is less than a block from Buffalo Bayou.


Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2019-09-10T15:23:14-05:00September 10th, 2019|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.

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