Ryan sued the owner of the office building at 4702 West FM 1960 earlier this year because the abandoned property was a fire hazard and a public nuisance. The lawsuit pointed out that owner InvestCorp Partners had failed to safely secure the property, despite numerous requests and citations from law enforcement and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office and concern from local residents.
“Abandoned buildings can become magnets for crime in a neighborhood, causing a serious nuisance,” said Ryan. “In addition, transients were squatting in the building and setting fires. This is dangerous not only for the people illegally living in the property but also for firefighters, who would have to enter the building to search for them if a fire occurred.”
Ryan explains in the lawsuit that 40,000 square foot office building had been vacant for at least a decade. There were several areas of access-points into the building including a number of shattered floor-to-ceiling windows. The property was full of broken glass, large amounts of debris and construction materials and graffiti. Officers have responded to this location for calls of criminal trespass, copper theft, illegal drug use and reports of runaways staying on the property.
A visit to the location by the County Attorney’s Office, the Fire Marshal and a representative of the owner in June found a transient living in the building who refused to leave. After that visit, the owner agreed to demolish the building. Work began July 30.
“We appreciate the owner’s agreeing to demolish this hazardous property,” said County Attorney Ryan. “When the work is complete, my office will withdraw our lawsuit.”
“This demolition is also a victory for local residents, who refused to allow this nuisance to persist in harming their community,” Ryan continued. “We in the County Attorney’s Office believe our Harris County residents have the right to a safe neighborhood and we will continue to fight for them.”