Anticipated buyer of historic Heights waterworks to outline development proposals during public meeting

Public meeting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 29, historic Heights Fire Station, 107 West 12th Street

Alliance Residential Group, the anticipated buyer of the historic Heights waterworks, is holding a public meeting on Tuesday evening, November 29, to give interested individuals the opportunity to hear advance proposals for the site's development. Alliance submitted the highest cash offer out of 19 bids received by the City of Houston, which, by statute, much accept the highest offer.

The property consists of two tracts of land. Tract 1 is the two-acre site of the decommissioned water plant located between West 19th and West 20th streets at Nicholson. This tract anchors the west end of the shopping district along West 19th Street, the main commercial street in Houston Heights, which is experiencing significant retail redevelopment. Tract 2 consists of 1.8 acres of vacant land between West 20th and West 21st streets at Nicholson.

The waterworks site contains a 750,000-gallon brick reservoir building from 1928 that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a 1939 Art Deco pumping station built by the Works Progress Administration and a 1949 pumping station.

The three-building complex is a City of Houston protected landmark, which means it cannot be demolished. A certified rehabilitation of the historic structures could qualify for city preservation incentives with the approval of the Houston Archeological & Historical Commission and City Council.

Preservation Houston has been in contact with Texas Historical Commission, which indicated that the block containing the waterworks could also be designated a National Register historic district. If the designation were carried out, an approved rehabilitation/adaptive re-use could qualify for both state and federal preservation incentives.

The waterworks offer unique development opportunities and challenges. A somewhat similar structure from the same era as the above-ground Heights reservoir has been adapted for an innovative new use. The recently opened Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern was Houston's first underground reservoir when it was completed in 1927. 

The public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 29, at the historic Heights Fire Station, 107 West 12th Street at Yale. Parking is available in the Fire Station lots and on streets in the vicinity. Please observe parking regulations.

Preservation Houston will keep its members updated on the future of the Heights waterworks.