SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - After sitting unused for decades, the Andress Ford Motor Company building in downtown Shreveport will see new life.
Jim Malsch with JRM Ventures purchased the building on Crockett Street and will transform it into the Andress Artist & Entrepreneur Center.
“We’ve been driving by the building, my wife and I, for years and I approached Shreveport Common several years ago about property down here in Shreveport, and so this came available," he said.
Malsch was able to purchase the building from Shreveport Common, an organization that is working to revitalize and create place making in the western edge of downtown Shreveport.
“We had bought it a year before we started with the process,” said Executive Director Wendy Benscoter. “(We went) through a shark tank style process to select a developer who would do something that was very creative...entrepreneurial, economically sustainable, and would also pay attention to the building itself, this history of it and the neighbors that were here to start with."
The 18,000 square foot center will maintain the 1929 industrial Art Deco feature of the building and include artist shared studio and retail space with a gallery on the bottom floor and an entrepreneurial center on the top floor.
“It’s a cool old building, and it needs to be brought back to life,” Malsch said. “Having the art component to the bottom stays to the mission of Shreveport Common, and the district as well as the entrepreneurial center at the top stays with the mission of cohab.”
A commissioned 2016 study was done that showed a demand for studio space in downtown.
“(This) makes a place for artists and audiences that they can come together,” Benscoter said. "Artists need that in order to become entrepreneurial and our community needs that because they want to be exposed to all different forms of art. “It’s good fur us. It’s good for our kids, (and) it makes our city move livable.”
Groundbreaking is anticipated in early 2020. Malsch is expecting construction to last around six to eight months.