Once it was a car dealership, then it fell into disrepair. Now it is ready to welcome new businesses.
An old car dealership building in downtown Shreveport gets a new lease on life as the Andress Artist & Entrepreneurial Center opens in early 2021. You’ll see it along Crockett Street between Common Street and Louisiana Avenue. Originally designed by the Wiener Brothers and built in 1929, the first building’s first occupant was the Andress Ford Company and was also a parking garage.
With the exception of a Shreveport Regional Arts Council UNSCENE! event taking place there a few years ago, it’s been empty for the past 30 years. For a while, rumors swirled around about demolishing it.
Then, local businessman Jim Malsch took up the latest chapter of the building. With the help of Shreveport Common and the arts council, he purchased the Andress and reconstruction began in 2020. The goal: to turn it into a place for artists and small businesses to launch their enterprises and to collaborate. Malsch commissioned new windows based on the original designs to keep the historical charm. You can still see much of the original building even with the remodel. They left the exposed brick and some of the graffiti while making the new office spaces modern.
On the first floor, the Downtown Art House opens soon with a retail space featuring local artists. The folks behind 318 Art & Garden will help run the new store. Behind Downtown Art House will be a working space for artists to create, collaborate and concentrate on their craft. Upstairs, small businesses occupy a number of offices, some with a spectacular view of The Strand Theatre and downtown.
According to Malsch, a marketing group, an attorney, a video gaming company, a photographer, a holistic wellness company and more agreed to move in. So right off the bat, the new Andress Artist & Entrepreneurial Center looks to be a good solid addition to downtown and Shreveport Common. Overall Malsch is “excited to have the artists and the interest and something positive for Shreveport.”
Related Topic: The Andress Artist & Entrepreneurial Center sits across the street from one of the newest apartment centers for Shreveport. See what else is coming in 2021 to downtown Shreveport here.
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