Tuesday, January 6, 2014
Contact: Liz Swaine
Downtown Development Authority/Downtown Shreveport Development Corp.
Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation Partners to Help Save History
Over the course of 2014, the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) with generous assistance from The Community Foundation, helped make six downtown buildings more viable for the future with a “Develop Downtown” structural grant.
“One of the biggest problems we have with our older buildings is deferred maintenance,” says Liz Swaine, executive director of the DSDC. “What’s out of sight is out of mind. Unfortunately, even though you don’t see the ongoing damage it doesn’t mean it isn’t creating serious problems. A prime example is the building you see as you enter downtown Shreveport from the Long-Allen Texas Street Bridge. Had the owner(s) repaired the roof, the wall would never have collapsed. That building is a piece of history that will probably be lost to us.”
The Develop Downtown grant was a one year opportunity for downtown building owners to seek assistance for structural issues that threatened to shut their doors, that could result in long-term damage to their building or that threatened future business viability.
Buildings chosen for the grant included:
- 120 Texas Street, the home of the Blind Tiger Restaurant. This 100+ year old building had serious roof issues that had washed mortar and brick out of the north wall, threatening collapse that would have closed the business and destabilized the entire building. Develop Downtown provided a grant, technical construction assistance, and help in filing for State Historic Tax Credits, which are also available for structural improvements to historic buildings in the Downtown Commercial Historic District.
- DSDC partnered with the City of Shreveport to hire an engineer to conduct a Structural Analysis of the Arlington Hotel. Though architecturally impressive and richly historic, the building has serious roof issues and has been the scene of at least two intentionally-set fires. The analysis allowed DSDC to show the city how the structure could be saved and put back into commercial use.
- Roof repairs at a historic commercial building at 802 Louisiana. The family that owns the building is working to put all three of their adjacent properties back in business after years of sitting vacant.
- Save the roof and retain the downtown business of the Credit Bureau of Louisiana, 620 Crockett Street. Roof and parapet wall leaks threatened the historic building and the business inside.
- Repair of structural issues created by years of vacancy in the old Central Fire Station hose tower at 801 Crockett. This building is being converted into an Artist-in-Residency apartment for use by artists visiting and working on projects downtown and in Shreveport Common as part of the Central ARTSTATION.
- Helped continue the mission of Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas, as a catalyst for development in downtown Shreveport. Though the space was rehabbed less than twenty years ago, the Robinson Film Center was becoming a victim to its success. 60,000 people through the doors each year severely stresses infrastructure and elevator. Sewerage issues and other woes were beginning to negatively impact day to day functions.
In addition to the structural grant, DSDC also offers façade grants and a low-interest revolving loan fund, as well as assistance in working with city permits and inspections and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office. For information on these programs and more, go to: www.downtownshreveport.com/incentives/