It was a contest with a purpose and ten locals took Shreveport Common Inc. up on the quest. The real-world mission was to take the currently vacant and lightly-loved 959 Texas Avenue and re-imagine it as something more, to come up with a use to create vibrancy and interest and -hopefully- pay the bills on the business. There were financial parameters and zoning requirements and other realities baked into the contest and the winner was Johnny Wessler for his CITYTOURS design.

It doesn’t mean a CITYTOURS project will happen- the contest was very much an exercise to get people thinking and to gather ideas, but it could. Someone might see it, think it a good idea and move forward on it.

Meanwhile, Shreveport Common’s next hurdle is to find funding to bring the small building up to code and get it weatherproof, a project estimated at $100,000.

959 Texas Avenue, red building and surface lot

Want to learn more about the building and possible business opportunities there? Click here for more. 

Story from Nov. 9, 2023

The little red building at 959 Texas Avenue and the large surface lot surrounding it could be worth a smooth $1,000 to you.

Shreveport Common is holding a contest for good ideas in developing the location, but the idea can’t just be good- it also needs to be realistic, appropriate for both the area and zoning regulations and won’t break the bank when it comes time to actually execute it.

The parameters are reasonably basic. You have a 2500SF building that will be a ‘white box’, which is a plain, open space. The surrounding level lot is 19,000SF. Both sit on historic Texas Avenue in the heart of Shreveport Common and in the western part of Downtown.

Photo courtesy Shreveport Bossier Advocate. This is the ‘white box.’

Those are your raw materials, now you have a few days to get creative and apply. Deadline for your application is Monday, Nov. 13 at 11:59 pm. (Hint: Before you dive in, take a look at the video and read the FAQs that should clarify any questions you have).

“We want people to think hard about exciting businesses that can be an exciting project,” says Shreveport Common Executive Director Wendy Benscoter. “The business doesn’t have to be fancy, people are welcome to submit any idea. They can submit alone or as part of a team. We are encouraging students to submit, teachers, too.” While the business doesn’t have to be fancy, Benscoter says it must be feasible. A rocket port is fancy, but feasible? Not so much. Your business/design plan must at least make a nod to the authenticity of the neighborhood it sits in. See more info that will help you win, here. 

Inside 959 Texas Avenue. Photo courtesy Shreveport Bossier Advocate

There have already been some applications, but Benscoter knows that more good ideas are out there, she just needs them by the deadline.

At the stroke of 11:59 pm on Nov. 13 (or sometime thereafter), the panel of judges will convene to discuss the entries. The judges, local property owners and other stakeholders, local architects and members of the advisory committee, will winnow the submittals down to one winner with hopes that the winning idea is something that Shreveport Common will then be able to bring to life. The plan now is for the space to be rehabbed and leased, but like all good plans, this one, too, could change.

Don’t be Cinderella and let the stroke of 12 catch you without your good slippers. Think of those business that speak to you, that you have experienced in other cities and want to see here, and apply!