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Developer Radom Capital rehabilitated and adapted Houston’s historic Star Engraving Company building into a mixed-use, retail and office hub. The ca. 1930 Spanish Mediterranean style office, courtyard, and storage warehouse is in Houston’s inner loop on a mature, tree-lined bluff, facing Buffalo Bayou. MHA Houston consulted on the rehabilitation work, helping to secure about $1 million in federal historic tax credits and $1.35 million in state historic tax credits.
Designed by architect R.B. Steele, the property was created for the Star Engraving Company, a manufacturer of high school class rings and other commencement-related products, including engraved diplomas and graduation announcements. The building’s cast stone decorative detail, terracotta tile roof coping, and low square towers are elements of its Spanish architectural theme.
The Star Engraving Company occupied the building until 1965, after which the building sat vacant until a large-scale rehabilitation into a cultural center in the mid-1980s. After being threatened with demolition in 1992, the City of Houston purchased the building, allowing the building to continue to function as a cultural center. Known as the Houston Center for the Arts, the center housed the Stages Repertory Theatre, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Bayou Preservation Alliance.
Rehabilitation work included the cleaning, repair, and restoration of original, character defining features; the removal of non-historic elements; and the addition of historically appropriate awnings, new MEP systems, skylights, and a rooftop deck (sensitively hidden behind the three-foot-tall historic parapet when viewed from the street). The building’s exterior stucco, cast stone, terracotta roof tiles, and wood and steel sash multi-light industrial windows were retained, cleaned, and repaired.
The interior of the building, in contrast to the exterior, reflects its historic use as a manufacturing plant and office building. Non-original interior details were removed, and any remaining historic fabric was thoughtfully incorporated into remodeling efforts for the property’s new office and retail tenants.
- Houston Business Journal | 2021 Landmark Award - Historic Renovation & Retail
- Preservation Houston | 2022 Good Brick Award
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