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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

KHOU 11 demolition photos

Decades of Houston television memories torn down after Hurricane Harvey's wrath

KHOU property on Allen Parkway being sold to SCI entity

This week, the old KHOU 11 studios on 1945 Allen Parkway were getting demolished. The TEGNA owned station sold the property earlier this year.

I headed down to the location that is on the edge of Midtown/Montrose, in the shadow of downtown Houston, to snap the photos you see here.

You will notice evidence of the Belo-owned days still exists with the painted "Spirit of Texas" slogan fading away on the now collapsed roof.

There I met nearly 30 year area resident Laura Conely who referred to her famous neighbor as a beacon in the neighborhood.

"It's very sad to see them gone," Conely told "Channel 11 has been such a great neighbor for all of us and it's a landmark. It's bizarre to think of it not being here anymore."

Conely told me something I never knew.

Technically the longtime KHOU studios are located in the Temple Terrace neighborhood. While the station is famous for facing the very heavily trafficked Allen Parkway, the backside of the station is a different story. A quick walk around the property shows a mix of quaint older houses mixed with modern condos.

"The on air personalities felt like they were our neighbors too," Conely added. "A lot of them lived in the neighborhood and got their hair cut in the neighborhood so over the decades they were really apart of our community."

Never ahead of Hurricane Harvey, did I think months later I'd be photographing the demolition of the storied CBS affiliate studios.

In fact, I was one of the hubris-filled native Houstonians that was telling my kids, this hurricane probably won't be a big deal.

We were all in for a rude awakening by Sunday, August 27, 2017 as the water poured in.

Channel 11 viewers saw it first hand as KHOU personnel were forced to evacuate. I couldn't believe that I was live blogging about the station moving the studios to its second floor and then quickly updating that post to say the station staff was leaving and temporarily shutting down its transmission.

- VIDEO: Summary of KHOU 11 studio flooding Harvey
- VIDEO: How WFAA in Dallas helped out KHOU and Houston
- Brandi Smith and the viral media storm

The TEGNA owned station utilized its good relationship with Houston Public Media KUHT TV8 to move into the PBS affiliate's studio where it still operates today until it can eventually move to its new studio location on 5718 Westheimer.

I'm told the new location will consist of 43,000 square feet of space and occupy three floors. That space will include two studios, two control rooms, an open collaboration space for all content producing departments, technical operations, sales and executive offices. The move is expected to happen in early 2019.

According to Wikipedia, KHOU moved from its original Galveston location to the Allen Parkway studios in April 24, 1960.

Most people have heard how former CBS News anchor Dan Rather passed through the halls, but so did other network notables like Jim Nantz, Linda Ellerbee, Jessica Savitch and Ron Franklin.

Once moved in to its new spot, KHOU will join most of the other Houston TV stations on the southwest side of town. However, it will eventually open satellite studios on the east side of downtown Houston. (UPDATE: I'm told that new downtown studio could open mid to late summer 2018).

Conely says she will miss those iconic red K-H-O-U letters that adorned the station's big tower displaying some of the coolest call letters for a Houston station.

She'll especially miss them around the holidays.

"At Christmas for years and years, they would block out the letters so it would just say H-O, H-O, so it would flash Ho, Ho, Ho," she told me.

Conely might be happy to know those six-by-six foot letters have been saved and could make a return at the new location.

“We are going to incorporate them, somehow, into our new building," KHOU 11 General Manager, Susan McEldoon, said on the TEGNA owned station's website. "I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to look at this point."

As far as I know, the future of the 1945 Allen Parkway property is unknown at this point.

Conley says her kids were hoping for a park.

We both agreed that probably won't happen. Even after a catastrophic flood, that property is just too valuable.

It might join lots in rest of the area and become a high-rise or multi-story apartment building. And the famous spot will fade into history just like the past locations of KPRC 2 (Post Oak Boulevard) and abc13 KTRK (Cullen).


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