Historic Building Redo Planned

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – A 119-year-old building at the corner of Main and Franklin in downtown Houston has been acquired for redevelopment by NewForm Real Estate, which has renovated other nearby historic properties.

The six-story downtown structure, designed by architectural firm Green and Svarz for Commercial National Bank, opened in November of 1904 and operated as a financial building until 1970.

Located at 917 Franklin, the building will expand NewForm’s redevelopment effort, called Main & Co., which includes several adjacent historic structures, namely the Raphael, Dorrance, and Brewster buildings.

The project will have office space with street-level retail. CBRE is leasing the reimagined 35,000 total SF of office suites while Transwestern is leasing the 5,158 SF of street-level retail space. The building was acquired from LALM LLC, which is affiliated with Lewis Marks.

“917 Franklin is one of Downtown Houston’s most prolific buildings and acquiring this iconic structure is a highlight in our portfolio of historic real estate,” said Dan Zimmerman, President of NewForm Real Estate. “We look forward to preserving the architecture of the building, while sustainably restoring and updating the interior office spaces and street retail to meet the needs of today’s office tenants and customers.”

The 917 Franklin building, characterized by its limestone and brick façade, follows a classical three zone design format and features three arched coves flanked by Ionic columns on the Main and Franklin Street facades. Each building floor features a collection of windows that provide the building interior with natural light. In addition to housing offices on the upper floors, 917 Franklin also features first-floor retail space. The building was awarded a landmark designation by the City of Houston in 2000.

“Our team has worked on many historically significant buildings in Houston, and we approach each restoration and renovation with extreme sensitivity. We’re excited for the Commercial National Bank building to join the Raphael, Dorrance, and Brewster buildings we restored next door and to truly create a Downtown block buzzing with bars, restaurants, showrooms, offices, and art,” said Zimmerman.

Main&Co now spans Commerce to Franklin streets along Main Street and houses multiple office headquarters and showrooms including Octopus Energy, Fervo Energy, and M.Naeve. Streetside retail, restaurants, and bars include Etro Nightclub, The Fifth Vessel, FYC Finish Your Champagne, and Kingsman Circle (formerly Lilly&Bloom). Main&Co has a private parking garage along Commerce Street with a mural by DUAL titled Produce Row. Completed in 2018, the 7,000-SF, two-story mural pays homage to Commerce Street’s history as the site for Houston’s first farmers market in the 1870s

Rising in the heart of downtown Houston, Main&Co is a collection of restored historic buildings along Main Street between Commerce and Franklin streets. With nearly 120 years of history as home to a bank, hotel, various dry goods purveyors and bars & restaurants, Main&Co is now home to energy firms, nightlife destinations, showrooms, restaurants, and bold street art

What’s Planned for 917 Franklin’s Redo?

Interior upgrades begin with redesigning the lobby space and enhancing the welcome experience with refined furnishings, wall coverings and articulated lighting. Throughout the remainder of the building, bathrooms will be modernized utilizing timeless materials that are appropriate for the building’s architectural period. Office spaces will be upgraded with new lighting, audio visual wiring, and kitchenettes. Original building architectural details will be exposed including brick, hardwood floors, and concrete ceilings.

The NewForm portfolio includes the three-story Raphael Building, 110 Main Street, built in 1876; and the five-story Dorrance Building, 114 Main, built in 1903.

March 13, 2023  Realty News Report Copyright 2023

Photo: Courtesy NewForm Real Estate


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File: Historic Building Redo Planned

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