For decades many buildings downtown have sat vacant and deteriorating. The decay of historic Shreveport architecture has been on the minds of those vested in the downtown area for quite some time, and they believe it’s time to do something about it.
Several buildings, located in the 600 block of Texas Street in the West Edge corridor of downtown, were set to be demolished until last year, when a New Orleans investor stepped in. Roland von Kurnatowski is focused on the restoration and renovation of historic buildings. He is the owner of the Tipitina’s Foundation, a music coop for local, aspiring artists in Shreveport and New Orleans. His plans to revitalize several buildings along Texas Street, while bringing retail and additional living space to the area seem to be in full swing judging by the scaffolding along downtown Shreveport’s main street.
Of course much more work is needed to bring downtown Shreveport, Texas Street and the Texas Avenue corridor back to what it was in its heyday. The good news is, it seems multiple organizations, activists and investors aren’t just talking about it, they are doing something about it.
The Shreveport Regional Arts Council has two expansion projects – Artspace and Shreveport Common, a seven-block area along Common Street. Artspace is expanding its square footage to include the building next door in the 700 block of Texas Street. Initial talks include adding an outdoor café and more space for art exhibition.
SRAC is still moving forward with its investment in Shreveport Common, which will house visual arts and performance venues. The old Central Fire Station is on track to opening as Central Artstation as early as spring 2012.
Just blocks away at First United Methodist Church Shreveport, the Emmett Hook Performing Arts Center opened in April 2011. With a capacity of 500, this performing arts center is encouraging growth in art and cultural in downtown.
As more and more buildings are restored and repurposed and new businesses invest in downtown properties, we expect to see great things in the future for downtown Shreveport. Click here for more information about downtown Shreveport.