Houston building steeped in history to get facelift

February 19, 2013 4:26:05 PM PST
One of Houston's historic structures -- the Sunset Coffee Building -- has been a fixture on Buffalo Bayou for more than 100 years. Now, it's getting a facelift.

There is a reason we're called the Bayou City. Allen's Landing, often described as Houston's Plymouth Rock, is the site of the confluence of White Oak and Buffalo Bayous.

"That has been the lifeblood of Houston. The confluence of these two bayous," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said. "The Allen brothers' dream was only realized, was only fulfilled because the cargo that was put on those ships was put on roads and put on trains."

And one the few remaining industrial buildings on Buffalo Bayou is the Sunset Coffee Building, erected in 1910 just off the banks of the city's original port. It's designated as a historical building through the state's registry.

"The boats came up Buffalo Bayou from the gulf and unloaded here, and it was sort of the hub of Houston's gritty commercial area," said Susan Keeton with Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

The Sunset Coffee Building is about to undergo a major renovation and enter the next chapter of its existence -- one that hopes to bring more adventure to Buffalo Bayou.

"We want to have the amenities for the kayakers, the Dragon Boat Festival and to give pedestrians more to do downtown," Councilman James Rodriguez said.

The building will also house the office of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. The top floor and rooftop terrace will be used for private events.

"It's what made Houston," Keeton said. "What got Houston on the map."

Renovation is set to start this April and completion is expected sometime in mid-2014.

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