SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Renovations of three very old buildings in Downtown Shreveport continue every day. The old Sears building and the two next to it are being restored to their former beauty. The buildings will soon play a vital role in driving the economy here in Shreveport.
"It's the first residential with retail that we've had in downtown ever," Said Liz Swaine, director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Swaine says in addition to renovating the Sears Building into more than 50 Lofts, there will also be a Rhino's coffee shop, a sushi restaurant and a live music venue called "Tips on Texas" all in the building. She says it's a huge step to putting Shreveport back into the race of places to come to.
"Successful cities have successful downtown's and we're excited to be play a role in the success of the entire city and the region," she explained.
You may be thinking that the project and the businesses associated with it are far from opening, but you would be wrong. It's already begun as Shreveport native Kelsy Jones has opened up her own show room at one of the three buildings being developed.
Jones spent her college years in Baton Rouge and worked at a retail store there.
"And just fell in love with it," Jones explained.
So of all the places she could've gone to open a business of her own, she came back to Shreveport. She says Shreveport is ready for trendy business.
"I saw the progress and I saw the potential. I found this building and thought it was the perfect fit. Downtown is so beautiful. It has so much history and it needs to be utilized," says Jones.
Parking can be a nightmare in downtown, but to accommodate the new lofts and businesses, there are plans to either build a multi-level parking garage, or expand an already existing parking lot nearby. The lofts are set to open by the middle of 2015, but pre-leasing has already started.