Southwest Key permit request for Downtown building prompts review of company’s second Houston facility

HOUSTON — Plans to open an immigrant children’s detention center have been met with another roadblock after the Houston Permitting Center released a letter Wednesday suggesting Southwest Key facilitates may be unsafe, dangerous or even hazardous.

“Over the course of the past few weeks, conflicting written statements from Southwest Key regarding the proposed occupancy of the facility located at 419 Emancipation have raised concerns that similar discrepancies might exist between the type of occupant group reported at other Southwest Key facilities and the type of occupant group that currently occupies each facility,” city officials said in the letter.

Discrepancies in the permits applied for and the intended use of the facility prompted additional inspections at the company’s location at 1550 La Concha Lane. According to the agency, structures that have not completed a plan review for their specific occupancy group run the risk of posing a life and fire safety hazard to those that occupy the structure.

The letter stated the La Concha Lane facility is not in compliance with the requirements of the Houston Amended Building Code. The Southwest Key has been asked to submit two complete sets of plans reflecting the “correct occupancy classification” of the facility to the Houston Permitting Center for review.