In February, the Houston Chronicle abandoned its home in the heart of the city and moved to a nondescript Soviet-style stack of cement blocks by U.S. 59 and the 610 Loop (the defunct Houston Post's old digs). Last October, Hines real estate firm, the building's new owner, revealed that it intended to demolish the Chron's childhood home, and the ten-story tower on Texas Ave appeared to have been left for dead.
But the newspaper's "spiritual home" seems to have been granted a stay of execution, thanks to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by the building's neighbor.
Theater Square LP, which the Chron reports is associated with the Linbeck construction family, is suing Hines and Hearst, the Chronicle's media conglomerate overlord, claiming the destruction of the downtown building will mess up its ability to connect to the downtown tunnel system.
According to the complaint, Theater Square "owns easements through the basement of the adjacent Houston Chronicle building for purposes of constructing a tunnel connecting to the Downtown Houston Tunnel System." The lawsuit says the property contract states that the easement agreement must be honored through subsequent ownership of the Chronicle building. Theater Square claims Hines's demolition plans would wipe out the underground space where Theater Square has easement rights, and when the company brought that to Hines's attention with the intent to settle the situation out of court, it was rebuffed.
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Theater Square is seeking damages and has requested a court-ordered injunction to temporarily halt the destruction of the Chronicle building. While the Chronicle's old stomping ground is probably still destined to become rubble, this intriguing legal battle could significantly push back its date with the wrecking ball.
You can read the entire complaint here: