Houston: Mayor Turner's Statement on the Texas Department of Transportation's Expansion of Interstate 45 and Demolition of Apartments
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June 23, 2022 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement Thursday evening.

"The Texas Department of Transportation initiated the purchase of the Lofts at the Ballpark along 610 St. Emanuel Street in 2019 using state funding as an early acquisition. While the proposed project does not need all three blocks,  TxDOT elected to purchase the entire property.

In June 2021, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) notified TxDOT to pause the I-45 project. (TxDOT can provide additional information on the timeline).

"In May 2022, contractors working for TxDOT applied for permits to disconnect utilities in the name of the contractor performing the work. The TxDOT's contractor also applied for street/sidewalk permits associated with the planned demolition. These permits impact St Emanuel, Capitol, and Chartres Streets adjacent to the existing buildings.

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"This past Friday (Jun 17th), when questions arose regarding if this project/permit complied with FHWA's directive, Houston Permitting put an administrative hold on the project/permit, pending FHWA finding that the property was purchased prior to their pause issued on the I-45 project.

On Tuesday, Jun 21st, FHWA representatives spoke with Mayor Sylvester Turner and stated that documents supporting the date of the sale were being requested.

"TxDOT has indicated it will not be seeking any further permits. State and federal properties are exempt from local building codes and do not require demolition permits. Assuming no objection by FHWA, and no demolition permit being requested by TXDOT, the city has no legal basis to stop the demolition."

Filed Under: Government, City

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