From Shopping Center 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. Feibleman’s was grand, but it was one of many. Downtown department stores include M. Levy’s, Rubenstein’s, Montgomery Ward, Palais Royal, Winter’s, and later, JC Penney and Selber Bros. If you needed to shop, downtown was the place to do it.
When Feibleman’s opened, it was the first store in Shreveport to offer its own credit card, and the first to have an escalator that went above the second floor. The building’s towering presence and ornate design was conceived by Samuel G. Wiener, a Shreveport architect known worldwide for his International-styled works. Within just a couple of years, Feibleman’s became known as Feibleman’s/Sears and later, just Sears.
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.
The area was a bustling, vibrant city center filled with jobs and opportunity. By the 1980s, though, the building once considered a ‘Temple of Commerce’ was vacant, its’ giant windows, bricked in. It looked more penal than palatial.
A Return to Use!
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
The Downtown Development Authority projects the rehabilitation to boost downtown revitalization, creating jobs, additional tax revenue and more opportunities.
The old Feibleman’s/Sears building marked a new beginning on its opening day in 1925. Now the building stands as a reminder that instead of looking outward, renewal can come from where things all started.