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Downtown Shreveport leaders herald 50 new apartments in ongoing rehab effort

Originally the Feibelman's Department Store, then a Sears department store, the refurbished 1923 building has been renamed The Lofts @ 624. The 96,000 square-foot building has seven stories and a basement.
Originally the Feibelman's Department Store, then a Sears department store, the refurbished 1923 building has been renamed The Lofts @ 624. The 96,000 square-foot building has seven stories and a basement.

A trio of early 1900s buildings in downtown Shreveport – including one on the city’s demolition list – are being brought back to life.

Originally the Feibelman's Department Store, then a Sears department store, the refurbished 1923 building has been renamed The Lofts @ 624. The 96,000 square-foot building has seven stories and a basement.
Credit Kate Archer Kent
Originally the Feibelman's Department Store, then a Sears department store, the refurbished 1923 building has been renamed The Lofts @ 624. The 96,000 square-foot building has seven stories and a basement.

Pre-leasing is underway for more than 50 apartments on Texas Street. At a press conference Wednesday, city leaders announced the names of businesses that will open in the development, including a coffee shop, nightclub, sushi bar, and vintage clothier.

New Orleans developer Roland von Kurnatowski has been working to rehab the buildings for almost two years.

“If it works as we expect, it will be a great investment and we feel like we’ve contributed to the rejuvenation of this part of the city,” von Kurnatowski said.

It’s that kind of developer optimism that Downtown Development Authority executive director Liz Swaine hopes will spread to other investors who are on the fence about downtown Shreveport’s old building stock.

“I think this is one of those game changers that maybe sometimes you only see once in a lifetime,” Swaine said. “It’s going to create this realization that there are other opportunities in downtown Shreveport, and those people are going to follow.”

Commercial real estate broker Debra Camus with Lea Hall Properties said every apartment in downtown Shreveport is occupied and there is a waiting list.

Next door to The Lofts @ 624, this early 1900s building was slated to be demolished. The building had collapsed in on itself. It's being turned into retail and office space.
Credit Kate Archer Kent
Next door to The Lofts @ 624, this early 1900s building was slated to be demolished. The building had collapsed in on itself. It's being turned into retail and office space.

She’s not surprised that more than more than 12 applications have flowed in for pre-leasing the Lofts @ 624, named for its address.

“The young, energetic professionals are interested in moving downtown. To have the opportunity to have some office and retail space along with it I think will make it a success,” Camus said, as a work crew wasted no time and jackhammered behind her at one of the buildings.

Studio loft rent will start at $760 a month. The apartments and office space will be ready for move in by next summer.

von Kurnatowski is mum about whether he’ll develop other properties in Shreveport. He says he has his hands full with these old buildings.Lofts @ 624 piece

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