Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has completed condemnation proceedings on the last unit in another townhome complex on Marina Drive in Forest Cove. They will schedule the units for demolition as early as next week.
Hurricane Harvey destroyed the units so completely that FEMA made them the centerpiece of a video after Harvey. Since then, they have become magnets for looters, arsonists, drug dealers and illegal dumping.
Amy Stone, a spokesperson for HCFCD said, “There were nearly 90 units in that community! All required appraisals, offers, negotiations, closings and demolitions.”
Reasons for Slow Pace of Buyouts
Demolition of the first units began on Timberline Court in March 2019. But HCFCD has had to navigate rough waters since then.
I previously reported that some owners abandoned their properties and that HCFCD could not locate them. Those units had to go through condemnation proceedings before demolition could begin.
Stone reports that two complexes remain. HCFCD closed on the last unit in one last month and completed the site inspection last Thursday. “We are waiting for the asbestos survey report to come back. We should have a demolition date by next week,” said Stone.
Asked about the other complex, Stone reported, “1020 Marina Dr. will be demolished once the last unit is purchased. This unit is currently in condemnation.”
HCFCD and FEMA like buyouts to be voluntary wherever possible. But in the case of missing owners, condemnation may be necessary. This is a big reason why buyouts take so long. HCFCD cannot demolish a building until they own all units within it.
Some Investors Never Learn
So here we are…1744 days since Harvey made the buildings structurally unsound.
Multi-family housing represents a poor choice for homes in such high risk neighborhoods. But before these units are even demolished, Chinese investors seek to build more, even closer to the river, about a mile downstream. Residents who bought condos in this area before Harvey tell me that they have spotted developers pitching this idyllic location to busloads of Chinese tourists in the area below.
I’m guessing Forest Cove is not on the tour.
Posted by Bob Rehak on June 8, 2022
1744 Days since Hurricane Harvey
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