Shreveport Feibleman’s Sears building at downtown.

From Shopping Spree to Downtown Renewal

When the Feibleman’s store opened on Texas Street in 1925, the streets of downtown Shreveport stood as the center of life, the go-to place, the future. Or so it seemed.

The streets were bustling, people were walking. Yet the jewel on the corner that offered jobs, and was once called a ‘Temple of Commerce’ became vacant and unloved.

Designed by one of Shreveport’s most famous architects, the building that housed Feibleman’s, which would later become Sears, graced the area among its similarly grand counterparts, as it still does today.

And though its department store heyday has come and gone, what’s known as the old Sears building will soon show what passion and preservation can do for a modern monument and adaptive reuse—turning something old into some new and useful again.

 

Another Masterpiece

When Feibleman’s opened, it was the first store in Shreveport to offer its own credit card. The building’s towering presence and ornate design was conceived by Samuel G. Wiener, a Shreveport architect known worldwide for his International-styled works.

Wiener and his brother, William B. Wiener, were known locally for designing many public and private buildings around Shreveport and Bossier City, including the Samuel Wiener House, the Wile House and the Flesh House.

Feibleman’s later became Sears and later still, became vacant. However, years later, a team of innovators saw the beauty and potential in the building’s original features and carefully crafted details.        

Shreveport Sears employees making drapes in 1958.

Shreveport Sears employees sewing drapes in 1958.

A Return of Vibrance

Today, the 600 block of Texas Street signals progress as the Sears building transforms into the Lofts @ 624, a mixed-use development of three buildings that will comprise 52 apartments, 22,000 square feet of office or ‘other’ space and 17,000 square feet of retail space when it’s finished.

The Downtown Development Authority projects the rehabilitation to boost downtown revitalization, creating jobs, additional tax revenue and more opportunities.

The old Feibelman’s/Sears building marked more than a new beginning on its opening day in 1925. Perhaps more importantly, the edifice has become a reminder that instead of looking outward for a new beginning, renewal can come from where it all started originally.

 

Discover Your City at History on Tap

There’s quite a bit of magic in Shreveport. You just have to look for it. Enjoy a plethora of brews and some historic & local tales at History on Tap on Thursday, March 24 in downtown Shreveport.