A soft breeze blew through the open windows on the top floor of 2017 Preston, bringing with it the rich smell of coffee from a manufacturing plant about a half-mile away. At first, the irony was lost on the owner of the five-story building, itself once a coffee roasting operation that shuttered in the 1940s.
"I've always smelled that, but I didn't know exactly what it was. That's pretty cool," said David Denenburg, laughing about how his senses have been dulled by years of exposure to paint, chemicals other products used in construction.
Denenburg recently bought the red brick building that rises five stories alongside the Southwest Freeway just east of downtown. Though there's been a renaissance of the neighborhood around it, the old Cheek-Neal Coffee building has languished for decades, a target for graffiti artists and a shelter for the homeless.
One of its most identifiable features is a rooftop water tower that was replaced several years ago with a fiberglas...
David Denenburg and Jon Deal have had their eyes on the historic Cheek Neal Coffee Building in EaDo for many years, and have been in the process of buying it for three years. Now it's (finally) theirs to redevelop.
2017 Preston LLC, owned by David (pictured), Jon and Todd Johnson purchased the historic 55k SF building from Tour Partners, an affiliate of Augusta Pines golf club. David’s been trying to buy the site for two years; he put it under contract in 2013, but the deal fell apart thanks to a purported lien on the property. Determined to get the building, David filed suit against Tour Partners and the purported lienholder (Jay Cohen), whose company Preston Realty owned the property for several decades. The suit was recently settled out of court, leaving the property open for redevelopment. Wilson Cribbs & Goren’s Brian Kilpatrick and Hughes Ellzey’s Jarrett Ellzey repped David in litigation.
David says that his team has immediately launched work ref...
For years the five-story red brick building just east of downtown, visible by all who travel U.S. 59 near the convention center, was a neglected eyesore amid a resurgence of development around it.
Located essentially at the front door of the trendy EaDo neighborhood, the old Cheek-Neal Coffee building is now in new hands. A group led by local preservationists purchased it this month after settling a property-related legal dispute that lasted several years and kept the building from being redeveloped.
The structure has been dilapidated for "probably 75 years," said David Denenburg, one of the new owners.
"Everybody that looks at it sees a piece of junk, but I look at it as a pile of gold," said Denenburg, who has restored old houses and recently transformed a historic Houston fire station building near downtown into an event space.
Denenburg and his partners aren't sure yet what they'll do with their new acquisition, 2017 Preston at St. Emanuel, but they've talk...