A dotted line runs right along the inside edge of the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company’s former roasting plant at 2017 Preston St. at the corner with St. Emanuel St., which was declared a protected city landmark today after starts to the building’s redevelopment by new owners last year. The line marks the proposed right-of-way for TxDOT’s plans to reroute I-45 alongside 59 and send the Pierce Elevated out to pasture, as shown in update documents released in September. The 1917 building shows up as a beige box at the corner of Preston and St. Emanuel in the above capture from the project’s interactive online map system, and the seafoam green highlighting to the left indicates the newly planned frontage roads that would run to the west of it.
But the Cheek-Neal building itself actually doesn’t appear to be on the chopping block. The blue highlighting indicating the future path of freeway lanes skirt the western edge of the structure (though they appear to engulf the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen across Congress St. to the north). Moreover, a cross-section through the I-45-59 bundle specifically shows the building in place, with the frontage road to the east and the freeways tucked out of sight below ground level:
The September updates also include a rendering of the freeway’s many lanes disappearing into the earth beneath a swath of hypothetical greenspace behind Minute Maid Park and the George R. Brown Convention Center — greenspace which, the planning documents repeatedly emphasize, is conceptual only and would only be possible through separate funding and development:
Here’s another sketch of what that greenspace could look like, should it come to be:
- Revised Project Overview Briefing Packet (Sept. 2015) [North Highway Improvement Project]
- Previously on Swamplot: Coffee Coming Back to Long-Vacant Coffee Plant Next to East Downtown Soup Kitchen; The 5 Wackiest Images from TxDOT’s Plans To Reroute I-45 and Abandon the Pierce Elevated