Lovett to Turn East End Industrial Property Into Fine-Arts Campus
One of Houston’s industrial real estate giants aims to redevelop a historic East End property.
Lovett Commercial, led by president Frank Liu, plans to convert the 280,000-square-foot Farmer Brothers Company coffee plant at 235 North Norwood Street into an arts and music educational campus, the Houston Business Journal reported. Liu is also the co-owner of Lovett Industrial, and has revitalized multiple high-profile properties around the city.
In addition to the educational campus, Lovett plans to turn the roof of the 1938 building into an event space with a bar and possibly add an adjacent multifamily building later on.
“There are all of these people who don’t have imaginations,” Liu told the outlet. “They say, ‘People aren’t going to go to the East Side.’ But everything is about leadership. We want to provide a place where we can help to nurture the arts and music in an educational way.”
Liu compared the planned redevelopment to Post Houston, which opened in 2021. Lovett transformed the 550,000-square-foot former Barbara Jordan Post Office into a mixed-use venue that includes offices, a food hall, a park and space for art exhibits and concerts.
The new project will be more restrained than Post Houston, Liu told the outlet. He anticipates construction to start in about 18 months.
Lovett paid $10 million for the 6-acre property in 2019. Its current taxable valuation is $13.2 million, according to the Harris Central Appraisal District. After Lovett acquired the site, Farmer Brothers entered a three-year leaseback, paying a base rent of $50,000 per month. The foodservice company, which is based in North Texas, stopped operations at the facility in 2021.
Other notable projects by Lovett include Sawyer Yards, a cultural arts district with restaurants, breweries and fitness areas, as well as the 770,000-square-foot Fairway North Logistics Park, according to the company’s website.