The new owner of the former Mary Barden Keegan Center along the southbound Iâ€“45 North feeder goes by the name Houston Market Center LLC and is connected to J. Lunaâ€™s Produce, a longtime vendor at the soon-to-be redone Houston Farmers Market on Airline. The sale closed late last month and included both the parking lot and 5,000-sq.-ft. community garden that sit behind the warehouse, closed-off from Vincent St. and the rest of residential Brooke Smith by a wrought-iron fence. Last week — reports a neighbor — workers got rid of that fence, â€œcleared outâ€ an onsite homeless camp, began dismantling a retaining wall, and cut down a few trees adjacent to the parking lot.
The seller, Virgata Property Company, picked up the building from the Houston Food Bank 2 years ago and — last summer — leased it to the Peli Peli restaurant group as a prep center for the South African chainâ€™s catering operation and a production hub for its house-brand sauces and spices. Since then, Peli Peliâ€™s added 2 more order-at-the-counter restaurants to its lineup of formal and informal locations: one in the Esperson Building at 808 Travis downtown, and the other in the new 365 by Whole Foods Market on 610.
- Previously on Swamplot: Empty ‘End Hunger’ Warehouse by I-45 North To Be Filled with Workers Making South African Food and Seasonings
Photo: Virgata Property