The Standard, the former Commercial National Bank building at 509 Market St, will become apartments.
Shreveport’s downtown heart is reawakening as the upper levels of downtown buildings are refurbished as dwelling units. Most commercial buildings, when originally erected, were intended to be multi-use, often with retail on the ground-floor. The upper floors of most commercial buildings were initially intended to be residences, and now, many are returning to residential use.
Liz Swaine, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, envisions a Shreveport full of life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By the end of 2017, downtown will have gained 125 apartments and at least three condos, all market rate with amenities such as a grocery market open 24 hours to tenants and a rooftop dog park.
Downtown Shreveport is rich in entertainment venues, but needs more in the way of meeting potential residents’ day-to-day needs. Increasing the number of downtown residents will encourage more necessity-oriented businesses, while increasing the number and variety of those enterprises enhances the desire of individuals to live downtown.
The number of downtown residential units is growing. Some of the construction projects result in relatively little housing being added to the city’s supply. Others may add a hundred or more.
Currently there are apartments in the United Jewelers building, 301 Crockett St.; Lee Hardware, 719 Edwards; Ogilvie Hardware, 217 Jones St.; the Fairmont and Jefferson apartments at 726 Cotton and 907 Louisiana streets; and the historic former Salvation Army building at 710 Crockett St. Most, if not all, have some sort of secure parking arrangement. The Edwards Street Lofts, across the street from Lee Hardware, are freshly finished.
More are in process. Among them are the Lofts @ 624, formerly the Sears, Lerner and Zodiag buildings at 624 Texas St.; the 11-unit Southern Bell Apartments in the one-time Southern Bell telephone building, 267 Crockett St.; and The Standard, the former Commercial National Bank, 10 stories tall, at 509 Market St.
Owners of The Standard hope to be ready for a late 2017 opening. A chute on the outside of the building is “steadily moving construction debris,” with interior construction to begin as soon as interior demolition is finished. The Ridgway/ARC building at 719 Marshall is being revamped as condos.
Yet other projects are in the planning stages, including the Johnson Building on Milam, the first building in Shreveport to be centrally air conditioned; the Petroleum Building on Market; and the Hughes Tool apartments, in buildings once owned by reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
By Lani Duke