If you are a fan of HGTV (and who isn’t, really?), you have seen an episode of ‘You Live in What?’ It features creative souls all over the country who have turned grocery stores, gas stations, old missile silos, barns and countless other structures into amazingly cool living spaces. My husband and I were featured on the show for a grocery store conversion we did in Highland in 2007. We loved that old building, right before we loved a newer conversion we recently completed in an old warehouse-type building in downtown. If we were in the market for a conversion, I can guarantee we would be crunching the numbers on this amazing place.
This is the old St. James United Methodist Church at 850 Hope Street, built in 1911 and vacant for several years now. It is three levels with 6000+ SF of sanctuary space, 3675SF downstairs and 1400SF in upstairs/balcony space. This building gives me goosebumps.
There are real benefits to this building. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful. You would live or work in something amazingly unique. You would be responsible for helping restore and save a historic building; this one a 1911 structure on the site of the congregation’s former church. You will be in the Downtown Development District (yay!) and I will be forever bugging you to be on our home tours.
There are also drawbacks that you will need to seriously consider. Repairs, rehabs and a conversion will not be cheap. The check you write (some people still do, you know) for the cost of the building will be one of many. You will need access to good working capital to be able to complete your project in a timely manner. There are no grants available for historic rehabs so this will be a project of you and your bank or your investors. Depending on what you do, there may be a Change of Use that could require additional life/safety measures ($$). If you are wishing to make the building your single-family residential, historic tax credits will not be available to you (they are only available for commercial projects). You might not be comfortable with the location- it is right behind the Shreveport Police Station and right across from the City Jail. I prefer to look at the positive- you will be surrounded by law enforcement and this is arguably the safest corner in the city!
You WILL be right across Texas Ave. from several buildings that are being renovated (the old furniture stores in the 1200 block) and a short walk away from C&C Mercantile and Lighting, a business doing a tremendous job of making Texas Avenue a destination again.
The building is in the CMU (Commercial Mixed Use) zoning subdistrict of Downtown, which gives you a wide variety of use options; from art gallery/studio to office use, hotel, live performance venue, restaurant, retail store and more. It is a great property to dream about, and maybe, to own!