Changes will be coming soon to the former Sun Furniture building at 1253 Texas Avenue. In 2019, SporTran purchased the Sun building and a building in the next block to create their Multimodal Resource Center across from the Murphy Street transit hub.
SporTran Chief Executive Officer Dinero Washington tells us a contract has been given on asbestos abatement in the main building and they expect work to start in the next month and a half. Once the building is ‘clean’, work can start on facade restoration and first floor interior work, hopefully in the fall of this year. That Phase II project still has to be bid.
Washington says the iconic ‘Sun Furniture’ sign that gives the building so much of its current personality, will be removed to be completely rehabbed and relit, and after completion, will be rehung.
Washington says to expect other improvements in the neighborhood, including replacement of asphalt roadway around the terminal with concrete panels which will be better able to hold up to the weight of the buses. Also in the coming months- expect bus shelters to be popping up downtown (more to come) and the introduction of a downtown autonomous bus. Yes, this is one of the vehicles that drives itself, and yes, we are very interested in how this will work, too.
Original Story- June 18, 2019
Chances are that you might have seen some of the local media coverage of the upcoming change for the old Sun Furniture building at 1253 Texas Avenue. SporTran recently purchased the old furniture store and a building Sun had been using for storage in the next block. They plan to re-brand the building as SporTran’s Multimodal Resource Center and create a food court, transit mall, transit technology center, training facility and employee wellness center. The former storage facility at 1309 Texas Avenue will be converted into a maintenance facility for the buses. The location for both couldn’t be more perfect- SporTran’s new intermodal transit center is just across Texas Avenue from both.
SporTran’s plans all along have been to leave the exteriors of the buildings relatively intact, to retain the cool old Sun Furniture sign and spruce up the neighborhood, which could use it. They are talking about applying for Louisiana Commercial Historic Tax Credits, which are available because the building at 1253 Texas Avenue sits in the Downtown Commercial Cultural District. At a meeting of the Shreveport Historic Preservation Commission on June 18, SporTran Chief Executive Officer Dinero Washington reiterated his plans for the building and mentioned their desire to improve the area around the transit facility, and in doing so, save two historic buildings.
The building that was the old Sun Furniture wasn’t always. Sun Furniture was founded in 1950 by H. Leo Greengus, but the company didn’t move to the current location of 1253 Texas Ave. until 1966. That was the year Sun Furniture pulled a city permit to rehab the building. You can see the changes in the pre-1966 photo and the post-rehab picture. In the post-rehab photo, the medallions are gone and it appears the contours of the upper facade wall have changed. Windows, signage and a canopy have been added.
The building had lived a long life prior to Sun Furniture.
The earliest records we found of it date to 1900 when it was the Bernstein Brothers, a purveyor of drugs, groceries, liquor, crockery, grain and seed–a kind of ‘one-stop’ shop of the era. In between the years of Bernstein and Sun Furniture, the building was the Green Walls Drug Company (1936), and sported a pretty amazing array of painted advertising signage along its west (Murphy Street) wall. Along the way, the building was also home to other wholesale drug companies and at least one other furniture store.
SporTran’s plans for the building will bring some much-needed amenities to the area that will benefit both transit riders and the general public- all of who will be welcome at the food court and transit mall.