As the Louisiana Film Prize swirls around it, 700 Texas Street is getting closer and closer to substantial finish and being occupied. The 1923 building has lived many lives- as a Dan Cohen Shoe store, a military entrance center, a space for musicians to practice and now- Cooper’s Corner. (Scroll down to read about Levi Cooper and the ‘original’ Cooper’s Corner).
The signage is hung, but as yet, the neon is not on. Once it is, watch out, this corner is going to be even more impressive! Owner William O’Brien is hoping- if things go as planned- to be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building in December with a completed, fully-functioning space.
Rehab on the historic building was long and tedious, but the high ceilings & uncovered details made it all worth it. The 18′ ceiling on the first floor gives a real sense of expansiveness.
The largest of the downstairs suites remaining is 2500 SF of space that looks out onto Texas Street, features beautiful views, private access and prime sign frontage. “This is my favorite,” says owner and developer William O’Brien. “I just love the feel and flow of it.” The two other available suites, roughly 1,000SF each, front Louisiana Avenue and are ‘mezzanine suites.’ The ground floor suites all have street access and easy proximity to Pepito XO@ artspace, Rhino Coffee Downtown, Robinson Film Center and other nearby amenities.
Each suite will have access to a large ground floor coffee bar/kitchen area and office restrooms. The concrete flooring is in the process of being polished for the downstairs suites and the finish build out of the remaining suites can be at the request of the new tenant(s). The suites are leasing for $15-$20PSF depending upon the extensiveness of the build out.
The garage doors that have been part of the Louisiana Avenue side of the building for more than 50+ years will remain, but will likely stay pulled up to allow access to the suites inside – and the main entrance for the building will shift to Louisiana Ave. (The Texas Avenue alcove will remain, but will be the entrance to the two private suites in the front of the building.)
O’Brien’s own office will be upstairs, where, in pulling up decades-old vinyl tile, they discovered the building’s original wood floors.
O’Brien was delighted at the discovery, and was even happier that most of the flooring could be salvaged.
Offices will ring the outer perimeter of the second floor to take full advantage of the many windows and natural light. Once again, the view from the second floor will be such that it might be hard for those working there to keep their minds on business!
The alcove in the front will remain (although as the entrance to the two private suites on the ground floor), and original fabric awnings will return.
The ‘bones’ of the building are really shining through, and with the windows uncovered it is taking on a much more welcoming air. It is going to be easy to love the look of the ‘new’ building, but it is equally easy to become enamored of its history. O’Brien took the history into account, naming the building- Cooper’s Corner- after Levi Cooper, the 1890 owner of the property who used it for his Mammoth Mule Yard.
The Interesting History of Cooper’s Corner
Levi Cooper was known for many things over his life, but one in particular: mules. In February of 1890, Levi and his father David owned the D. Cooper & Co. Mammoth Mule Yard at the site that is now 700 Texas St. By May of 1896, it had become Cooper Bros. Transfer, Sale and Livery. Levi and his brother Beauregard grew the mule barn and livery stable into a good life for their families, and Levi became known over his long life (1855-1941) as a ‘pioneer Shreveport resident’ and philanthropist. A member of B’nai Zion Temple, Levi Cooper was related by marriage to another notable Shreveport family, the Cahns. He served as a Caddo Police Juror and was especially generous to the Genevieve Orphanage, for which he was named Honorary Chairman for Life.
Mules and horses were a big thing in Shreveport’s early days- all mail and packages that came into town via the city’s first railroad- the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific line- were transferred and delivered by Cooper’s mules and horses. The era of the motor car ended the profitable stable, but Cooper continued to sing the praises of real ‘horse’ power. “I went out of business with the advent of the motor car,’ he told the Shreveport Times in 1937. “But we used to keep 100-125 horses and the Sunday afternoon ride was so popular we had an extra rate for that day.” In 1930, The Caddo Parish Police Jury built a road across some of his horse pasture property to connect North Market St. to Blanchard and it was named after him, the ‘Cooper Road.’
In 1923, with cars doing much of the work of horses and mules, Cooper opened the Central Market at 700 Texas St., a type of co-op with 16 vendors under one roof, selling fresh meat, coffee, a creamery, bakery and grocery items, fish, fruit and vegetables, cigarettes and cigars, oysters and poultry and a lunch room. The motto? ‘As Clean As Your Kitchen.’
Later in life after his wife had died and his only child- a daughter- had moved away, Cooper moved into the Washington-Youree Hotel. It was apparently his time in the hotel and an ensuing lawsuit by the Washington-Youree that led to Cooper’s loss of his property at 700 Texas St. In 1936, the building was purchased by Samuel Wiener, Jr. and became a Dan Cohen Shoes, a business that would remain in the space for 29 years.
Other businesses at the address:
1926- The Stumble Inn Grocery, responsible for a chicken break-out in 1927. Three hens tried to escape, causing quite a commotion and a write-up in the local paper.
1928- Crawford Outdoor Stores.
1928- Houston Furniture Store.
In 1965- Just in time for the Vietnam War, the space became the Army Recruiting Center.
1974- Christian Service’ headquarters.
2005- Tipitina’s Music Co op
O’Brien and his partners want to remember the days of David and Levi Cooper and pay homage to the history of the building. Much like it was in the 1900s, the building is at the center of it all, and O’Brien’s goal is to help it remain that way.
Interested in having your office at the ‘new’ Cooper’s Corner? Contact William here.
Story from July, 2021
The final musicians are picking up and moving out of 700 Texas Street, which for the past several years served as the Shreveport hub of the New Orleans-based Tipitina’s Foundation Music co-op. The sounds of drum solos and guitar riffs will soon be replaced by the sounds of power tools as the 18,000SF building is readied for its latest life, that of a hub for business. The new owners are William and Jorie O’Brien and a small group of investors who plan to convert the small, dark former music rooms into spacious, light-filled modern offices.
William and Jorie are not new to downtown ownership. They stepped in when the popular Parish Taceaux at 708 Texas St. closed in November of 2020. Though it was their first foray into restaurant management and ownership, they made changes that the public liked; adding a sidewalk seating area and pub crawls, they oversaw creative seasonal beverages and brought back menu favorites that had disappeared. Through it all, they kept a close eye on things, spending a lot of time at the restaurant and adjacent artspace. William had long been a fan of downtown- of the history, the architecture and the feel of it- but his time at the restaurant gave him a different perspective.
“Everything is within easy walking distance,” he says of downtown, noting that his former office building in south Shreveport was much less conveniently sited. “In Ashley Ridge, I couldn’t easily walk to a coffee shop, to a restaurant, to my bank, to go work out or go to Mass. Here, I am 20 feet from Rhino Coffee, can easily walk to a variety of restaurants, to the YMCA to exercise, to Citizen’s National Bank and Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Downtown is cool, it’s got a real community feel. It’s the best place to be, in my opinion.”
A number of other businesses apparently agree. After a period of construction, O’Brien will welcome Matt Hudnall of Ashford Advisors, Delton Smith of SMC Hotels, Benny Vaughn Construction, and others. The businesses O’Brien runs through IV Advisors, LLC – consulting, oil & gas, minerals, solar development, restaurant and real estate- will house there, too. It will be a smorgasbord of business knowledge and experience. The businesses will be moving to downtown from current spaces on Greenwood Road, Line Avenue, Pierremont Road and Bert Kouns, some 60 folks in all. 700 Texas, soon to be christened Cooper’s Corner, will be a thriving, happening place.
At present, 70% of the space is claimed, but office suites ranging in size from 500-5,000SF are still available. O’Brien also plans to have a Cooper’s Corner version of We Work, monthly desks for folks who want to get out of the house and into a professional setting, but might not need a permanent office space. Meantime, architect Jason Cram of Vintage Design will be working on adding 2,000 SF to the building through the inclusion of mezzanine lofts that will take advantage of the 18′ ceilings on both floors, ceilings that have been long hidden by drop down acoustical tiles.
“Downtown is such a good investment opportunity,” says O’Brien, who confides that there are other downtown buildings that intrigue him, too. “There is no way we could build this building for what we bought it for. I hope more people will see that there’s a great value proposition to invest in downtown Shreveport.” O’Brien and Cram respect the history of the building and will work with the state on Historic Tax Credits. They hope to be able to debut their brand new ‘old’ space in 6-12 months.
July 15, 2021
700 Texas Street has a new owner! The building closed this week and is being prepared for a new use and a new look (and name)! In the TV biz, this blurb is called a ‘teaser’ and that’s exactly what this is. We are teasing you with this little bitty piece of information and will share much more in NEXT week’s eBlast. Stay tuned!
Ever so often, an artist rendering transforming a historic downtown building catches our eye, and one for 700 Texas certainly did. The 1930’s building has already lived many lives- as the Sears Home and Farm Center, as the Dan Cohen shoe store, and myriad other retail spaces. The 18,180 SF 2-story building is currently for sale, for an asking price of $595,000. Over the years, the building has been changed inside but several things remain- the brick walls and the high ceilings (14′) currently hidden by drop-down acoustical tiles. You can also see from this 1950s photo where the giant windows used to be, windows that could be (should be) uncovered again.
For the last decade or so, it has been the Tipitina’s Foundation music co-op, a place where musicians could rent a small space and practice their craft. Rare was the day (or night) that you would walk by and not hear horns or percussion.
This artist rendering by Vintage Design Group architect Jason Cram is pretty fabulous and shows how a historic building can have modern appeal and functionality. The location of the building is wonderful, adjacent to artspace and just across from the Lofts at 624.
This cool building could be yours. It is in an Opportunity Zone, has the potential for both state and federal Historic Tax Credits and other incentives. To hear more or to see the building, contact Chris Stokes at 318-222-2022.