Coffee Coming Back to Long-Vacant Coffee Plant Next to East Downtown Soup Kitchen

Renovations at 2017 Preston St., East Downtown, Houston 77002

Greenway Coffee Co., the roasting operation behind Blacksmith’s coffee (in the former Westheimer home of Mary’s), appears to be involved in a coffee project intended for the ground floor of the 1917 Cheek-Neal Coffee Co. building. The former coffee plant at 2017 Preston St. (located across Congress Ave. from the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen and SEARCH Homeless Services’s under-construction employment center) received little use or maintenance following the 1946 departure of coffee manufacturing operations; the building is currently being renovated after sitting vacant for years across 59 from Minute Maid Park.

2017 Preston’s new owners mentioned plans to put a coffee shop on the ground floor of the structure to the Houston Chronicle in September — and on Friday, Greenway’s David Buehrer posted a photo of the renovation’s interior progress to Instagram:


Renovations at 2017 Preston St., East Downtown, Houston 77002

The property at 2017 Preston was used from 1917 until 1946 to manufacture Cheek-Neal’s Maxwell House Coffee; the Maxwell brand was sold to what eventually became Kraft Foods in 1928, and operations moved to a new facility on Harrisburg Blvd. in 1946. (That Harrisburg plant was sold to Maximus Coffee in 2006, shortly after which the iconic Maxwell House coffee cup sign was removed; the company was rebranded as Atlantic Solutions Coffee in 2014 following a labor strike at the plant during the previous fall.)

In September, the new owners of 2017 Preston mentioned the possibility of conversion of the building into a boutique hotel, but said they were at that point more focused on the renovation than on finding tenants.

Photos: HoustonMidtown via HAIF (2017 Preston St. exterior); David Buehrer via Instagram (interior shot)


Preston St. Coffee Buzz

22 Comment

  • How can anyone run a business that requires walk-in customers within a smell shot of a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen? Businesses in L.A.’s bum mile have been suffering and fleeing for years.

  • When liberal people think they are helping the homeless they don’t care if their tunnel vision good intentions affects the general health of that area of the city. As I have stated before , its good to help the homeless however do it in a part of town specifically set up for them, away from the population of the inner city. One branch of The Star of Hope has opened up such a location away from the core of the city on hwy 288 south of the loop however the services for the poor run by various other charities still want to keep these neighborhoods …midtown, downtown, east of downtown and the medical center next to Herman Park…convenient to the feeding and caring of the homeless. They feel that everyone should experience either directly or indirectly the effect of being homeless or what it is to suffer and prefer to keep these people in our face so that we won’t forget it. Too bad they don’t push the idea of planned parenthood as hard as their unconcern for a crapped out city which inhibits pedestrian activity and the harassment and tension that is caused by homeless people who may be mentally sick or who may be mentally sick and angry at any passerby they encounter.

  • How can a building remain unused for seventy years!?!

  • Agree with commonsense that this will be interesting. There are hundreds of homeless within a block of this building and creating the only retail, and one that caters to people who have some spare change, within miles might make this the Disneyland of the down-and-out. Or maybe not..And the coffee shop customers might like having living conversation pieces outside the windows as they sip.

  • Downtown, etc. is considered one of the safest places, even with all the homeless, etc. or the safest. Downtown has the highest rent offices, etc. and still coming and building. Who are you to ban out people that aren’t trying to attack you, be criminal to you, etc. that are less a threat to you than many of the neighborhoods with no homeless and much crime that have thriving businesses? Realize the truly poor aren’t trying to mess with you. The true poor is of those that need our help the most. The true poor have been vets that become suicidal because of those that use a government for wars to it’s citizens, but doesn’t give the the truest healthcare that should be better than anybody else’s health care, and etc. Stop ignoring a problem that you’re ignoring and going into any area throughout Houston or any city and gentrifying it and wanting to ban out any of the people that were there before and of the true poor the same. Stop thinking you deserve something, but other people don’t. Look at yourself, inside/out. Are you on your own providing some service that would really come back in the way of less of the entire poor problem to everybody else? If you want to blame, blame yourself, too. You wanted to escape to the suburbs or wherever with things, but when you want to come back, you think you can bring back the same attitude and think that those left behind in the city that you escaped are suppose to just take. You wouldn’t like if those in those escaped areas if they decided to be as anti as you think because they’ve got every right and even more since this is still theirs, even when you think you’re coming back and will take.

  • why do you all you haters assume it will be a coffee shop? what if it was only going to be the roasting operation (meaning no walk-in customers)?

  • @palmwind1 so the translation is: Homeless people are worse humans than regular people and don’t deserve any quality of life. So therefore we should try to separate them from us, put them in unwalkable locations, maybe vehicle/pedestrian hit-and-runs will thin out the population?

    FYI, Homeless = Rich = Guy flipping your burger = Trump = Obama = Gandhi = You = Hitler = Your Neighbor.

    Get the point? You are no better or worse than any of these other people or groups, same goes for the homeless. Do homeless make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe your worship of comfort is skewing your vision of reality. The reality is that homeless shouldn’t be confined to a certain area of the city because they’re homeless and you don’t want to look at them. Humble yourself quick before you are humbled.

  • In this part of town, I’m far more concerned about traffic –cars running lights, speeding the wrong way down one way streets– than I am about people asking for some change.

    Tout Suite has been opened for business for quite some time a block away and is typically packed.

    2017 Preston is really good news!

  • Tout Suite does just fine and is right down the street. I don’t think the homeless population will be as big of an issue as people may think.

  • Coming out of a coffee shop around the corner from this place the other night, a homeless guy made a b-line for me as i was about to get in my car. I called him out for it and he said he was just hoping he could catch me before i got in the car to ask for spare change. Women havent been scared off from going to Toute Suite yet, but it takes one bad situation to scare a lot of people off.

  • Funny how most of you act like these shelters are doing it on purpose, when in reality they’re here because a couple of years ago this area was a SLUM and land was cheap. Now you want the land back because the area is gentrifying, so you accuse these shelters of trying to shove homeless people down your throats. The nerve of these homeless shelters forcing you to look at these homeless people, right?

  • Tout Suite, which opened a while back, is stonesthrow from this location but has the added benefit of a few blocks barriers. However, the homeless still traffic this area and its not the most pleasant site looking under 59 to a sea of garbage. By placing this development directly adjacent, I think you are asking for a problem and further reduction of foot traffic. The city needs to relocate these homeless shelters if they plan on EaDo taking off in regard to future development.

  • I guess y’all don’t visit big cities much. Dealing with panhandlers (who may or may not have homes) is just a fact of life. People get used to it.

  • Tout Suite has a huge window that looks out under 59 where there are always a lot of homeless people hanging out. When you sit at a long bar on the upper level, you have a great view of all the comings and goings of the homeless folk while you drink your latte and have avocado toast. If the Swampies come back (hint hint), I would nominate them for “most Dickensian breakfast experience.”

  • @mike, I guess everyone assumes it will be a shop and not a roastery, because it says shop, not roastery.
    anyway, yeah, tout suite has an awesome view. it’s like a huge reverse aquarium. I can go look at the homeless in their natural habitat without needing to actually get in there with them.
    I’m glad David’s keeping his coffee closer to downtown, I’m no fan of pretentious coffee shops, and BS is high on that list, so there’s no reason this one won’t be the same.

  • 1. Props to Old School’s “most Dickensian breakfast experience” comment – I busted out laughing!
    2. The homeless shelters were there first so I’d have to say that they have ‘squatter’s rights’ so to speak on the area. It is a lot easier for new businesses to move than for the shelters to source a new location, get the word out, and have the homeless clients follow. Being homeless and all, they don’t have a lot of access to Facebook or the mainstream media since they have to hustle. No time for avocado toast.
    The new businesses could easily move into the Irvington/Near North Side corridor, Trinity Gardens, or Magnolia Park areas. Close enough to downtown, still inside the Loop, and could still attract the hipsters on their fixed-gear bicycles.

  • I’m going to get myself to Tout Suite and see if I can run into some Swamplot celebrities.

  • Well, my previous post was a little too much non-PC so it didn’t get past the moderator. We live under an oppressive communist regime I tells ya!

    In a nutshell, and as much as I can make it sound PC…. I do not believe the vagrants have equal rights to the rest of the citizenry. The society provides many options of escape and as far as I’m concerned the chronic street urinators make the CHOICES which places them in such predicament. Also many major cities around the world BAN vagrancy and make it ILLEGAL once clear options are established, why can’t Houston?

  • @toasty – assumptions…not nearly enough of those around here…amirite?

  • @commonsense,

    seek help old man…

  • My grandma (born 1947) claims to have worked here, so _someone_ was using it after 1946.

  • @commonsense: Ask the people that run the businesses that require walk-in customers in this part of town. there are more and more of them as time goes on.