HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Developer Frank Liu of Lovett Homes and Lovett Commercial just made a $10 million play on the east side, purchasing the Farmer Bros. coffee facility on Navigation Boulevard at Norwood Street.
Liu has not announced plans for the Farmer Bros. property, although he believes the brown brick, 85-year-old building is an important icon in the East End.
For decades, Liu has been a pioneer in Houston’s Inner Loop real estate markets, showing an uncanny ability to be first to locate neighborhoods that are prime for a turnaround. In the way stock market investors consider the moves of Warren Buffett, Houston real estate investors observe the Frank Liu’s moves.
Located south of Buffalo Bayou, the Farmer Bros. site is very close to the Turkey Bend extension of the bayou. The non-profit Bayou Bend Partnership has envisioned a redevelopment of the existing wood-plank Wharf at Turkey Bend, which could be re-purposed as public boardwalk with food service and kayak launches. The Wharf is within walking distance of the Farmer Bros. property.
Liu has leased-back the coffee plant property to Farmer Bros. for three years for a base rent of $50,000 a month, according to a filing by the coffee company.
For redevelopment, the mid-rise Farmers Bros. could be redeveloped as residential units with ground-floor retail – perhaps with the inclusion of a co-working office or creative space.
The six-acre Farmers Bros. property includes about 300,000 SF under roof. Coffee companies have been on the site since 1935. But the days of coffee beans and caffeine will be over soon.