1229 Texas Avenue

1229 Texas Avenue is not a building that would generally elicit any response other than ‘Oooh’, and not in a good way. Many downtown buildings- from the former Sears Department Store at 624 Texas Street, to the Interstate Wholesale Furniture at 816 McNeil- covered all their windows once air conditioning became available. Apparently, cooled air and natural light could not coexist at the time. At 1229 Texas Avenue, that meant a metal skin on the facade and a mansard awning that are both just…ugly. The new owners would like for that look to change.

The original artist rendering of the building by architect Seymour Van Os.

The original look of the building, which was constructed as Brenner’s Furniture Store in 1924, was almost all windows, important in an era when ventilation was the only air cooling happening and lighting wasn’t nearly as efficient. It’s also much more attractive than today’s ‘heavy metal’ look. Happily, owner Brandon Beard has discovered the windows still exist under the metal cladding. His design/build team and historic consultant are working now to lock in tax credits and plan the best way to make the building beautiful, functional and useful again.

Our original story on the sale of the building was in 2021, just after Beard completed his purchase of the 27,000 SF building. Some of his plans for the space may have changed, but we are glad to see renewed movement on the building, which is in a block where there is a lot of action happening!

Original Story- 2021

Brandon Beard is nothing if not visionary. Beard, The Brandgineers ‘Chief Idea Officer’ and President has a lot of ideas taking shape right now, and most of them have to do with the old Ivan Smith Furniture store at 1229 Texas Avenue. Beard closed on the building right around Christmas, It’s a ‘gift’ that he hopes will continue to give.

Beard leads The Brandgineers, a team that provides a one stop shop for marketing needs from social media outreach and video/audio production to event planning. Beard is thrilled to have found a downtown space.  “When we walked into this building, we knew right away that this was home.” One of the things that the best developers and historic preservationists have in common is the ability to see past the current look of a place to what could be. Beard has that ability, in spades.

The first floor and view of the mezzanine.

Home is where the heart is, and for the Brandgineers, it’s where their mission will be focused. Current plans include using the expansive, high-ceiling ground floor for co-working office space, an audio booth and a retail coffee bar/cafe that will spill  onto an outdoor seating area that Beard says will feature regular live music and monthly speakers.

The future outdoor cafe space.

With a location just steps away from the City Court, Shreveport Police Department and 911 Center, a coffee bar could be a very popular option. The Brandgineers team will office in the mezzanine and the second floor could include a full video production facility, as well as other uses. “Imagine a place,” Beard says, “where you have everything under one roof. Video Production, Audio Engineering, Legal Advice, Logo Design, Branding, Web Development, Banking, Graphic Design and so much more. That is what we are building. We call it an Entrepreneurs paradise.” This ‘Entrepreneurs paradise’ looks quite different than it did when it was built in 1923.

The building was originally drawn by local architect Seymour Van Os, who opened his first office in Shreveport in 1915. Van Os and partner Theodore Flaxman were owners of a noted firm responsible for a variety of local buildings, including Booker T. Washington High School, which is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The construction of 1229 Texas Avenue was relatively fast. The permit was issued on the structure, estimated to cost $65,000, in July of 1923. By January of 1924, Brenner’s Furniture had moved in and was inviting customers to come shop with them.

Though the building was remodeled in the 1960s (ironically, the remodel cost more than the original construction- $75,000) it remained a furniture store- first Brenner’s and later, Ivan Smith, until it closed to the public sometime around 2010.