The Houston Housing Authority has begun work on replacing a senior living community that suffered severe damage Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
There soon will be a new affordable senior living community in the Memorial Drive corridor, according to the Houston Business Journal.
The original 2100 Memorial tower was built in 1969 as a Holiday Inn until the hotel company vacated the property in 1986. The building stood vacant for more than a decade, before it was acquired by HHA, which converted the property into an affordable senior-living community. In 2017, it was destroyed by Harvey.
The building suffered severe flood damage after Buffalo Bayou spilled over Memorial Drive, sending hundreds of gallons of water through the building’s lower floors. It was later determined that the flooding wrecked the building’s electrical infrastructure. At the time, 2100 Memorial was home to 200 residents, who will be given the first opportunity to return to the new community when it is complete.
Several tenants sued the Houston Housing Authority, seeking to be allowed to stay, according to Houston Public Media. Some continued living in the building for almost two years as the legal battle played out. Ultimately, a judge ordered the agency to provide vouchers for the remaining seniors to find new living accommodations.
The new HHA President and CEO David Northern told HBJ in a February interview that the housing authority had some work to do to restore the community’s trust in the agency following the fallout from shuttering the former 2100 Memorial development.
Since then, HHA has secured $62 million in funding to build the replacement building.
The new five-story community will offer 196 affordable units exclusively for senior residents, each of which will be outfitted with hardwood floors, balconies and quality appliances. The community will also feature a fitness center, theater, meeting rooms, a business center, and landscaped courtyards with skyline views of downtown Houston.
“Housing is more than buildings and units; the lack of quality affordable housing is a leading driver of wealth and health disparities, and our seniors are among the most vulnerable,” said LaRence Snowden, chair of the HHA board of commissioners.
The HHA has scheduled a May 17 groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate major construction starting with the lot on 2100 Memorial. The event is expected to be attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, HUD Deputy Regional Administrator Leslie Bradley and other community stakeholders.
[HBJ] — Maddy Sperling