In October 2017, MHA opened our sixth office in Houston. In February, Amanda Barry joined director Anna Mod as our associate in Houston. Her long passion for and professional background in historic preservation brings important expertise to the fast-growing historic rehabilitation industry in Texas and beyond.
How did you become interested in historic preservation?
It is an absolute cliché, but I first became interested in historic preservation in middle school when I visited Mt. Vernon. Although it did take some time to identify my career path, I knew at that young age that I had a love of history and a love of old buildings. I don’t know of many 6th graders who know they want to be preservationists!
What is your favorite type of architecture?
That’s a toughie. I’m going to cheat and say “New Orleans style” architecture so I can include everything from Creole Cottages to Neoclassical. I grew up near New Orleans and have always loved the city’s architectural diversity.
Why do you believe that historic tax credits are important?
Tax credits make it possible to breathe new life into historic buildings. They provide vital financial assistance for the rehabilitation of buildings that might otherwise be overlooked, neglected, or worse – demolished.
Tell us about one of the projects you are working on.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital | Houston, Texas
Project client | Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation
Building History |
St. Elizabeth’s is an Art Moderne style hospital building, constructed in several phases between 1945 and 1988. The hospital opened in 1947 in Houston’s Fifth Ward, a historically black neighborhood northeast of downtown Houston. The city was segregated and inadequate access to health care inspired local doctors, concerned civic leaders, and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, a Catholic order of nuns, to raise funds, construct and then run the hospital. The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception operated the hospital until 1981 when it was sold or transferred to the Houston-based Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word who continued its operation until they closed the hospital in 1988. The next year, a group of local doctors purchased the hospital, and it reopened briefly as the Drew Medical Center, which closed in 1990. In 1992, the hospital was purchased and used as an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility, and then closed in 2014. To date, the hospital remains vacant. The property is slated for rehabilitation as an affordable housing complex.
Rehabilitation Challenges & Solutions |
Over time, there were several alterations made to the building, resulting in a hodge-podge of contributing and noncontributing resources that have all been subjected to neglect, extreme weather and vandalism – including arson. Extensive forensic investigation was used to determine which resources still contribute to the character of the property and which resources are viable for rehabilitation.
Community Impact |
Fifth Ward CRC is dedicated to the collaborative fostering of holistic community development. By using the federal HTC along with the Texas HTC, Fifth Ward CRC is able to provide affordable housing within the community while preserving a historic, community landmark.