Second life

Bold new makeover planned for historic downtown Houston building

Bold new makeover planned for historic downtown Houston building

Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering 2
The first floor will house a bike and boat rental facility. The second floor will serve as offices for the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Rendering courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering
A bridged walkway connects the building to Commerce Street and extends out from the vintage warehouse to form a bayou lookout. Rendering courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
Once renovated, the top floor and rooftop will be available to rent for private events. Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Love Street Light Circus Houston, club, bar, Sunset Coffee Building
The Love Street Light Circus in its heyday Waltrip66.com
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, Love Street poster
Love Street hosted some of Texas' biggest psychedelic bands of the late '60s. Photo courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, Allens Landing and SS Coffee
Allen's Landing with the brick Sunset Coffee building resting just above the bayou to the left Photo courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, 1880s at Allen's Landing
Allen's Landing in the 1880s Photo courtesy of Houston First/Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
Sunset Coffee Building, looking north Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Sunset Coffee Building, Mayor Annise Parker
Mayor Annise Parker Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering 2
Sunset Coffee Building, renovation, rendering
Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
Love Street Light Circus Houston, club, bar, Sunset Coffee Building
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, Love Street poster
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, Allens Landing and SS Coffee
Sunset Coffee Building, Allen's Landing, 1880s at Allen's Landing
Sunset Coffee Building, February 2013
Sunset Coffee Building, Mayor Annise Parker

A long-vacant landmark at Allen's Landing, the storied Sunset Coffee Building is getting a new lease on life.

Built in 1910 along Buffalo Bayou, the warehouse is perhaps most famous for housing the Love Street Light Circus — the groovy '60s-era psychedelic club that played host to legendary regional acts like the 13th Floor Elevators and the Moving Sidewalks (an early ZZ Top project).

The historic building will undergo roughly $8 million in renovation work led by award-winning architecture firms;Lake|Flato and BNIM, along with landscape designers SWA Group.

After years of neglect, officials announced Tuesday that Sunset Coffee will undergo roughly $8 million in renovation work led by award-winning architecture firms Lake|Flato and BNIM along with landscape designers SWA Group.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for April with a completion date set for mid-2014. A bike, kayak and canoe rental facility will be located on the ground floor with offices for the Buffalo Bayou Partnership located above. The top floor and rooftop terrace, with its striking views of the downtown skyline, will be available for private events.

During a press conference next to the aging brick building, Mayor Annise Parker noted the historic importance of Allen's Landing — where the Allen brothers purportedly came ashore to found the City of Houston — as well as the bayou's increasing importance as a meeting place and recreation hub. 

"I get asked regularly what my favorite place is in Houston and I always say my own home. But after that, I say the bayou," Parker laughed.

"I get asked regularly what my favorite place is in Houston and I always say my own home," Parker laughed. "But after that, I say the bayou." 

"I've been out here in dragon boat races. I've been out here with the trash skimmer. I've been out here in kayaks. I've even watched the Art Guys swim across the bayou and drink out of it a few years ago . . . And they lived."

The Sunset Coffee Building, which is aiming for LEED certification, will be connected to nearby Commerce Street by a bridged walkway that extends out from the vintage warehouse to form a lookout over the bayou. Once fully refurbished, the building also will connect to the Buffalo Bayou Park trail system that runs from downtown Houston to Shepherd Drive.