Residents Ask City to Tear Down Vacant Building

When new owners took over the Linda Vista Apartments on De Soto Street last year, they did so believing the city would eventually order the apartment complex across the street demolished. Officials called the complex unlivable. It was a haven for crime and prostitutes and so the city shut it down.

But Susan Stubblefield with Linda Vista says the shut down has caused new problems.

"People will not come in when they see the eyesore that is across the street. People will not walk from the bus stop to our community and lease from there."

Making matters worse...there's another apartment complex down the street that's partially burned. It remains vacant as well.

That's why a group of business leaders and residents packed the city council chambers...hoping their pleas will pressure the city to do something.

Stubblefield says their business can't survive without the city's help.

"You cant be successful at 40 percent occupancy you have to have 90 percent occupancy. And we thoroughly believe that if the demolition happens then we can be successful."

Apartment owner and manager Ken Nguyen sees things differently. His apartments are in the same neighborhood, but he doesn't think demolishing either of the buildings will make much of a difference.

"We are more concerned about security around here. We need more officers on site. More officers responding to our calls."

After that comment Ken showed me where he'd been punched by someone on his own property.

"You see my scar?ξ Really.ξξThis happened at 1 o'clock. It took them an hour to get here."


Mayor White says he's all for knocking down the old complex, but legally he has to hold a hearing first. And he's inviting all those neighbors and businesses owners to testify once again.

Bill Stamps...KUHF Houston Public Radio News.
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