A New Restaurant in an Old Industrial Spot in the First Ward?

Note: Story updated below.

A reader sends this photo of the demolition of the 1950s metal warehouses across the street from the former Johnny Franks Auto Parts at the corner of Sawyer and Edwards St. in the First Ward. County records show that both this 1.2-acre lot and the larger 2.4-acre Johnny Franks lot are owned by the same entity: Westheimer Retail Center Ltd., located at 1520 Oliver St. And it just so happens that retail developer Lovett Commercial, also located at 1520 Oliver St., has posted on its website a pair of pretty pictures of a new cafe — at the corner of Sawyer and Edwards!


Lovett describes the cafe as a “[u]nique, column free building with 35-ft. ceilings, outdoor patios and amazing views of downtown.”

Though there would also appear to be amazing views of the Mahatma and Success Rice Company silos, conveniently deleted from these renderings. Still, it’s not clear when — or whether — this development will happen; attempts to contact Lovett for comment haven’t been returned.

Update: A rep from Lovett tells Swamplot that the restaurant will be on the southeast corner of Sawyer and Edwards, directly south of the corner described in this story. Read more here.

Images: Lovett Commercial (renderings); Swamplot inbox (photo)

14 Comment

  • wow, that would be awesome! i mean, unless you guys think it’s bad, then never mind, what a terrible idea! :-)

  • Kinda reminds me of the Whole Foods off of Magazine in the Garden District.

  • I’m not for or against apathy.

  • I thought that building near grain silos is generally a bad idea? Or does that photo make the Mahatma silo look closer than it really is?

  • Interesting place to put a restaurant..

  • @Sihaya- it really is that close. I travel down past that at least three times a day. It is an interesting spot for a restaurant, but if it’s a good place it will do really well serving folks going to and from Winter Street Studios, the Spring Street complex, and the stuff happening at the Summer Street spot. Right now the options in that little portion are somewhat slim-the Chick fil a, Freebirds, etc are typically packed at lunchtime, though it’s thinned out some since all the stuff over on Yale/Heights opened up.

  • This area is ripe for development. Lovett’s decision to build here is as much speculation as it is based on current use, traffic patterns, etc.

  • There is soooooooo much potential in the 1st ward. Grocers Supply is moving out of their facility on Studewood near the train tracks. It is a bit of an odd shaped lot, but it is huge. The Mahatma rice silos are empty. Mahatma moved out and left behind a 9 acres that are very ripe for redevelopment. And there are a bunch of smaller lots and a ton of new townhome construction going on. As long as some developers can actually think outside the strip mall/mid rise apartment’s box, a lot of great things can happen in this area. This development is a very promising start.

  • With that view of Downtown, that industrial sector is destined for residential eventually but a cafe makes sense now while the trains and big rigs continue to rumble down the road.

  • Sawyer needs to be widened and if money were no object an underpass (or two) under the RR tracks – since they are/will be a permanent fixture.

    Would also love to see the rice silos preserved into a new use instead imploded early on a Sunday morning.

  • My Grandfather was born in a li’l old house on Shearn in 1920. I better go take some pictures of it soon because it won’t be around much longer.

  • I really dig the rice silos. I know the chances are slim, but I hope they survive the transformation of this area.

  • it’s First Ward.