Who would you sell for $26 million? Houston vs. Center for the Retarded (CRI)

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As you may have read in the Chronicle this past week (and here and here), Houston Center serving Persons with Mental Retardation (CRI) is in danger of being booted from their West Dallas campus property by the city of Houston.

This is direct violation of the 99-year lease the Center signed in 1963 with the city and would potentially displace about 600 residents – many of whom have lived at the West Dallas campus for decades. Should the sale of the land go through, the Center would have 3 years to move out. This might seem like a long time, but is quite soon considering how difficult it is to find affordable, accessible and quality housing on this scale.

There are multiple sides to every story, but in the end I see this as the city wanting to capitalize on the valuable property that the Center sits on (worth an estimated $26 million) by being assholes. Business-minded yes, but condo building assholes all the same.

The Center has launched a Save the Center Web site to educate concerned Houstonians and help get their voice heard through online petitions and city government contact info.

What do you think about this? Should the Center have to move to satisfy the city’s build-lust? Or is this just business as usual?

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