UPDATES EXTRA: Councilwoman says owners now plan to use Manvel mansion as office space

MANVEL — Owners of an unfinished Manvel mansion now plan to use it as an office building while the founder of a planned veteran resource facility at the location is shifting the nonprofit’s base operation to Houston.

Christa Mode, who started The Bailey Organization, had hoped to see the 30-plus-bedroom home in the 2000 block of CR 59 in Manvel transform into a peer counseling center for former service members, but believes moving those services to the heart of the Bayou City is for the best, she said.

“I had big dreams for the Manvel mansion, but God knew there would be certain obstacles,” she said. “I have no ill will toward anyone in Manvel. I am just going to go where God leads me.”

The U.S. Navy veteran was overwhelmed in late March when news broke of her dream of turning the mansion into a facility targeted at helping fellow former military members, she said.

Since, Mode has been busy applying for and becoming a 501©3 in addition to learning about various resources available to those aiming to help veterans, she said.

“There are all these grants and certifications I can get,” she said. “One of them allows me to get an endorsement from the VA and work as a partner as a professional counselor for veterans.”

The new location in Houston has the same owners as the Manvel mansion, who are working out a deal to lease Mode the building on Old Spanish Trail, which is about three to four blocks from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, she said.

“The location is perfect,” she said. “I will have all the resources at my fingertips when I get a vet coming in with issues going on. Everything is in a 5-mile radius.”

As for the fate of the Manvel mansion, it recently was rezoned from open single-family residential to light commercial, following a request from the owners, Councilwoman Melissa Sifuentes said.

“At the City Council’s last reading for the zoning change, the owners along with a local investor came in with a plan in place to locate their own office in the building and lease out multiple office spaces as it pertained to the owners’ initial and only request from day one — light commercial,” she said.

During a May planning, development and zoning committee meeting, residents voiced concerns about the mansion’s possible usage as a treatment facility for homeless veterans, Sifuentes said. The city would have had to receive a request to change to light commercial with a specific-use permit for that type of facility, she said.

The initial request received from the mansion’s owners indicated the home would be used as an office space with a possible event center and a leased space to a nonprofit that would provide peer counseling, the councilwoman said.

By the time the request came before City Council in June, the nonprofit no longer was going to be operating out of the location, per the mansion’s owners, Sifuentes said.

“Personally, I will add that the military and veterans deserve the absolute best treatment and healthcare, and I am fortunate to live in a community that was interested enough to see something of this nature possibly happen,” she said. “I am also happy to see the founder’s vision continue to carry out with God’s intended purpose.”

Meanwhile, Mode is looking ahead with hopes of opening the veteran counseling center in eight months to a year, she said.

“It’s been nothing but a blessing,” she said. “It’s amazing how God works because I really think being in Houston is for the best.”

Source : http://thefacts.com/news/article_ae2a7fb1-6489-58b7-a8de-d4ce26fe30d5.html

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