ONCE-NEGLECTED HISTORIC BUILDING UNDERGOING TOTAL MAKEOVER
The Standard plans fresh and local gourmet market and deli on first floor
She’s looking great; wearing her age gracefully. Sure, she’s having some work, but it is being tastefully and skillfully done.
The elaborate white building at 509 Market, once the grande dame that dominated the Shreveport skyline, is preparing for her comeback as The Standard, an upscale mixed-use multifamily downtown destination.
The 105-year-old building’s first new retail tenant was recently unveiled as Street Corner Market, an upscale urban market for the first floor.
“This building was the first skyscraper in Shreveport, and it’s only fitting that it should house downtown’s first gourmet market,” said Neil Kapadia, a principal partner at ViaNova Development, the Chattanooga, Tenn., entity that bought the property earlier this year.
Street Corner, a chain of franchise stores under the parent company Mc- Colla Enterprises, Ltd. of Topeka, Kansas, has 43 upscale markets in popular urban areas, according to Convenience Store Decisions, a trade publication.
Street Corner is rated the number one franchisor of the “urban superette” by the trade journal CSP Daily News. The innovative deli/markets are the crowning jewel of the $682 billion convenience retailing industry, according to CSP.
A Street Corner Market opened in August at ViaNova’s The Clemons Lofts in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Clemons is a beautifully restored 1918 property originally built as a department store, said Kapadia.
The Standard is a much larger building than The Clemons, which has 54 residential units and six stories. The Standard has 86 residential units and 10 stories. Both feature luxury residences with cutting-edge technology, rooftop dog parks, fitness centers and secured parking. The mix of The Standard will be 90 percent housing and 10 percent retail, said Kapadia.
The Street Corner Market at The Clemons is 2,700 square feet and draws heavily from fresh, local sources. The menu features freshly prepared and packaged food, locally roasted coffees and bakery selections, floral arrangements, exclusive crafts and jewelry, local craft beers, groceries and a salad bar.
“We absolutely plan to carry as much local product as we can including produce, beers, coffees, pastries, etc. We like to strike a nice balance between local as well as organic/healthy options while also carrying some of the old convenience store standbys. We will also have a full-service deli in place that will offer lunch and early dinner options, catering and, eventually, delivery,” Kapadia said.
Biometric fingerprint locks provide afterhours access to the markets for building residents who need to shop after the markets close to the general public. Online shopping allows The Clemons residents to pick up their shopping on the way upstairs to their homes, according to The Times Free Press of Chattanooga.
The modernization and habitation of one of Shreveport’s finest old buildings is expected to drive development in the area around it, according to Liz Swaine of the Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation.
Plans are being discussed by private investors for “the amazing transformation of the club scene in the 200 block of Texas Street, just outside the doors of The Standard,” said Swaine.
By next summer’s opening, other retail tenants being courted by ViaNova should be signed on. Kapadia said the company is hoping for a new bank tenant for the ground floor of The Standard which would make use of the massive bank vaults that remain intact since the building originally opened with Commercial National Bank on the first floor.
ViaNova principals Kapadia, Vic Desai and Nirav Shahwho all have hospitality backgrounds and appreciate the beauty, elegance and refinement of historic properties.
The Standard and similar buildings of the early 20th century have become ViaNova’s focus after the company initially renovated hotel properties. By repurposing beautiful buildings a little down on their luck, they turn them into beautiful, mixed-use, multifamily properties, Kapadia said.
ViaNova plans to invest more than $10 million to return The Standard to prime condition. They recently acquired a property in St. Louis and plan to restore it in a similar fashion. The company focuses on second- and third-tier markets and strives to retain and restore the architectural features that made them unique and beautiful in their glory days, Kapadia said.
“Our firm has a focus on gorgeous old buildings that have a rich history and wonderful architecture, and we found a gem in Shreveport. The elevator lobby was beautiful,” said Kapadia.
Mark Williamson of Somdal Associates, the local architectural firm chosen by ViaNova for the renovation, said before work began on the project that both ViaNova and Somdal are committed to carefully and fully restoring the structure.
“I think they are committed to doing the very best they can,” said Williamson.
“We really want the store to reflect the local flavor of Shreveport, and we want it to service the residents and employees of downtown, especially since, currently, there aren’t many options out there that offer something similar in terms of selection,” said Kapadia.
– Kathleen Ward