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A $5.3 Million Historic Makeover

Houston's own Plymouth Rock finally gets respect: $5.3 million makeover for historic coffee building

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Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
The current state of Sunset Coffee, now fenced off and ready to undergo renovation. Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering
The outdoor plaza will host events and provide rental facilities.  Rendering courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering 2
When the renovation is complete, the former Sunset Coffee building will serve as a hub for activitiy along Buffalo Bayou.  Rendering courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering 2

Allen's Landing, the mythical founding spot of Houston at the confluence of the Buffalo and White Oak  bayous where brothers John and Augustus Allen and Augustus's wife Charlotte first departed the steamship Laura, lacks the status of say, Plymouth Rock, but construction has begun to give the historic site the respect it deserves.

The Houston First Corporation and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership have begun work on a $5.3 million project to renovate the Sunset Coffee building that sits atop Allen's Landing (CultureMap first reported on the project back in February of last year). When the year-long project is complete, the site will pay tribute to historic Houston and serve as an access point for people who want to explore the bayou on foot, bike, kayak or canoe. An outdoor plaza will offer snacks and rental facilities, with outdoor lighting for various events. A rooftop terrace also will be available for private events.

 "It will give Allen’s Landing the attention it deserves as the focal point of Houston’s history.” 

Access to the facility will be enhanced with a pedestrian bridge that connects to Commerce Street and a link to the hike and bike trail that runs along Buffalo Bayou.

"We are so excited to see construction start on this project,” Dawn Ullrich, chief executive officer and president of Houston First, said in a statement. “Once the work is done, this building will create a welcoming attraction where people will rediscover Buffalo Bayou. It will give Allen’s Landing the attention it deserves as the focal point of Houston’s history.”

The Sunset Coffee building had a brief moment of notoriety in the 1960s when it housed famed nightclub the Love Street Light Circus and Feel Good Machine, which was operated by celebrated local artist David Adickes.  

"This is a dream come true for everyone at Buffalo Bayou Partnership, something many people have worked on for more than a decade,” said Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. 

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