Photo by Patrick Feller
The iconic Cheek-Neal Coffee Co. building is set for a modern repurposing courtesy of its new owner, David Denenburg. The building, which has retained structural integrity since it was built in 1917, will become a vintage multi-use project housing food vendors on the first floor storefront and fully furnished offices on the upper floors.
Once a regional coffee processing facility for the developers of the Maxwell House brand, the building was designed by Houston architects Joseph Finger and James Ruskin Bailey and was operational until 1947. The Cheek-Neal Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016 to honor its local significance.
Denenburg has promised to keep many elements from the original building, including some built-in machinery, exposed brick and concrete pillars. Historic preservation is at the forefront of the new plans for Cheek-Neal, with proposed designs incorporating original building elements like a motor-driven chain that reaches every floor, decommissioned water tower and boiler, and refurbished steel casement windows. The project, and its focus on repurposing without losing the building’s original qualities, was one of the reasons EaDo was given the Civic Vision Award from AIA.
After avoiding demolition thanks to Denenburg’s lobbying, the building’s redevelopment received the green light from TxDOT. Jim Parsons of Preservation Houston comments that, “The Cheek-Neal is a great example of an industrial building that was designed to complement the cityscape…When a building like the Cheek-Neal is lost, we never get another one like it, and we lose another example of the way people used to design and build.”
EaDo District is excited to see this project come to fruition, thanks to Denenburg’s determination and forward-thinking.