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...