Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) 2008 Purchase of 1300 Block of Calumet from Caroline to Austin
MPNA has had ongoing concerns regarding the $572,115 repayment plan for the December 30, 2008 Holocaust Museum of Houston (HMH) purchase of Calumet Right of Way (ROW), abandoning one block of Calumet from Caroline to Austin.
The MPNA Board has continued to engage with the City and HMH to address our concerns and the City agreed in January 2018 to abandon their initial plans to close the north two lanes of Calumet from Caroline to San Jacinto.
However, current plans for repayment of $572,115 allow HMH to invest $300,000 within the enclosure of the Museum and use approximately $200,000 to enhance the Clayton Library grounds. (The original amount of $272,115 has been reduced by costs incurred for the initial design plans that will not be utilized.)
Both MPSN and MPNA continue to ask that the City and HMH revisit current plans in order to provide more investment in the public realm to further the goals of the Livable Centers Study (LCS); however, neither the City of Houston nor HMH have indicated a willingness to pursue any further changes.
The MPNA Board initially believed these matters could be mutually resolved as we discussed our concerns with CM Boykins, issued a Resolution sent along with a letter to Mayor Turner on December 18, 2017 (see attachments), and continued conversations with the City and HMH to address these issues on behalf of the neighborhood.
The City has not agreed to our request contained in the Resolution that Council direct a new Ordinance be prepared for funding and development in the public realm of the Museum Park neighborhood, in consultation with the Museum Park Super Neighborhood (MPSN), MPNA board, and Museum Park residents.
Below are further details regarding the history of this sale of public right of way by the City to HMH, the actions taken by MPSN/MPNA, and the current status of the repayment plan.
Sale of this public right of way by the City of Houston in Dec 2008 to the Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) was valued at $572,115; providing in lieu of immediate payment, that HMH commit to seek federal funding and such funds be deposited within five years into a special City account for the benefit of the Museum and Management District area. (The original plan proposed that the $572,115 would leverage matching federal funds to provide a total of $2 million.)
At the five-year deadline, when HMH had not acquired the matching grant funds, City Council granted a three-year extension of payment.
When payment again became due in 2016, City Council approved a very different repayment agreement. Neither MPSN nor MPNA were notified of the modified repayment agreement at the time, but coincidentally became aware when HMH made a public announcement of its expansion project in June 2017.
MPNA began to voice objections to the City of Houston regarding the terms of the revised repayment plan, particularly pertaining to funds no longer being required to be deposited in cash into a special City account.
The revised repayment terms (per 2016 agreement) allowed the original $572,115 to be repaid by:
- HMH investing $300,000 into its expansion plans to improve the interior landscape by creating the Garden of the Righteous, which is open to HMH members/ticket holders only during the Museum’s hours of operation.
- Abandoning more public ROW (the two north lanes of Calumet west of Caroline) to extend the grounds of the Clayton Library and make improvements totaling the remaining $272,115, without any compensation to the public for the additional abandoned public right of way.
Letter to Mayor Turner, December 18, 2017
MPNA Board Resolution, December 12, 2017Timeline of Actions: City Council & MPSN/MPNA regarding HMH purchase 1300 Calumet.
MPNA 9.11.17 At Work on Your Behalf regarding HMH with supporting documents