The new owner of the former Mary Barden Keegan Center along the southbound I–45 North feeder goes by the name Houston Market Center LLC and is connected to J. Luna’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, “cleared out” 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 chain’s catering operation and a production hub for its house-brand sauces and spices. Since then, Peli Peli’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