Problems behind historic Texas Street building’s vacancy

Local

Many historic buildings in downtown Shreveport are vacant but complicated to sell. Including one you may recognize as an eyesore, which poses some of the most problems for city officials.

114 Texas Street sits in the Red River District which was once called Shreve Square. You’ll recognize it’s caved in roof that’s very apparent when driving over the Texas Street Bridge. City officials said they want it sold but the process for doing so is difficult.

“It’s been a warehouse. It’s been a dance hall. It has been a sports bar. It has been many things in between. The stories those walls could tell,” said Liz Swaine, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director.

Built in the late 1800s’, with rare cast iron columns, this historic Texas Street building now looms over downtown with broken walls and a caved in roof. Many remember it as the club Humphrey’s In The Square in the 1980s’. But Swaine said a lack of maintenance caused it to deteriorate. Which is the case of many downtown buildings that were bought by the Dellinger Trust.

“The Dellinger Trust put no maintenance into the buildings and were unwilling to sell the buildings and many of the buildings went to the ground unfortunately. Then over the years they stopped paying taxes on this building and others. Then it just has become a muddy mess of tax purchasers,” Swaine said.

She said the law makes it a long, complicated process to get a clear title for a new owner. Along with finding the right kind of owner who has the ability, knowledge and money to repair it. Plus any repairs have to consider the buildings it’s connected to, including Chicago and The Blind Tiger. However, the last structural report in 2010 shows it can be saved.

“It can be done. It’s not going to be easy or cheap, but look at what you’ll have if you do it. You’ll have a building that can’t be replicated, a building that is replete with history of downtown, with stories to tell,” Swaine said.

She said their goal is to get the building into the hands of a private developer. They’re working to get federal and state historic tax credits which will help ease the investment risk, but it will still be a costly challenge.  

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