Developer to turn former Rubenstein’s department store into apartments

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A developer is building apartments out of two apartment buildings in downtown Shreveport where people from across ArkLaTex once shopped.

Isaiah Lee of Leeson Real Estate Investing and city officials announced Project Rubenstein at a press conference Tuesday morning at 517-519 Milam St.

Plans call for the 107-year-old Rubenstein Building and the 115-year-old Lanford Building to be converted into three dozen apartments along with retail, restaurants and offices.

Rubenstein’s, billed as the “mall of the Ark-La-Tex,” opened in 1927 in the center of Shreveport’s downtown business district. It offered clothing, shoes and a variety of household items until it closed in 1987.

Since then, the two buildings on Milam Street that make up the old Rubenstein’s have been used primarily for storage.

“The two buildings that make up the former Rubenstein department store are in poor repair and need lots of love,” Liz Swaine, executive director of Downtown Shreveport Development Corp., said in a statement about the Rubenstein project.

“But even if challenged, they have incredible potential to breathe new life into this important part of the central business district.”

In 2019, the Rubenstein Buildings were donated to DSDC, a non-profit organization that works to improve and develop Shreveport’s urban core. Swaine said the organization used to directly repurpose buildings such as 416 Cotton St., 708 Texas St., 617 Texas St. and 221 Texas St. or work with partners to bring vacant buildings back to life in the downtown. This is where Lee comes in.

Tune in tonight as KSLA News 12’s Jade Myers tells us more about the developer and their plans for historic spaces.

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