SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Historic buildings that were once home to long-time family business Sun Furniture now sit vacant. That won’t be the case for much longer.
KSLA News 12 learned that SporTran purchased the buildings located at the corner of Texas and Murphy.
They have big plans that will breathe new life into the properties.
Phase 1 is a food court that will help fix the food desert in this part of downtown. Right now, SporTran, Amtrak and Greyhound passengers pass through the new bus terminal without many options for food.
“There’s a few restaurants toward the riverfront and the river entertainment district, but the area we are there’s no food options,” explained SporTran CEO Dinero Washington.
Washington says they hope to bring in local restaurants.
“One of the worst things you could have to do is catch the bus, get off to get food, and then get back on the bus to go home when you could get all that here in one-stop shop," he continued.
The food court will hopefully be online by 2020.
It’s funded in part by $400,000 dollars from The Choice Neighborhood Grant announced last year.
The Multimodal Resource Center will also have a transit mall, employee wellness center and a safety training facility large enough for the entire staff. A Regional Transit Technology Center will help SporTran officials work more closely with its transit partners.
“It’s a center where you look at the technology that’s aboard our coaches each day and how can we use that technology to better function on the roadways," says Washington.
“There are sensors now where lights can change whether a bus is on schedule or running delayed schedule. How can we bring some of that technology to better suit our riders who ride each day?”
At the property across the street, cleanups efforts are already underway for a bus maintenance facility and charging station for electric buses. SporTran also plans to apply for autonomous shuttles which would be housed there.
The next step is to begin the design and renovation.
The project will ultimately improve the city’s transportation system.
“We do things here in this market to try and bring new opportunities to our citizens. Let them know we care. We hear them. We want to support and build our transit system into something our citizens in Shreveport-Bossier deserve.”
The rest of project will be funded using federal transportation grants and public-private partnerships.