It isn't obvious from the outside, but "The Novena Building" houses upscale condos. Dorrett Vanderberg bought the building in 2010, and she can't wait until people move in.
"My whole intention was to give downtown a boost because I have a passion for downtown Shreveport."
Vanderberg said she has spent more than two million dollars turning the historic downtown building into condos and an office space.
"It's like a sigh of relief, it's exciting because it's something you've been working on for so long and to see it finally coming through with people coming in and the product is wonderful, my goodness, there's nothing more pleasing."
Vanderberg is accepting applications for tenants. The condos are available for purchase and lease.
Members of the Downtown Housing Authority hope more contractors will be inspired to renovate buildings downtown. To jumpstart the revitalization movement, they hosted a panel featuring State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.
"This is our attempt to work with the state fire marshal's office codes of redevelopment to make it easier and less expensive for people to get these buildings and do something with them," said Liz Swaine, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority. "
"Sitting vacant, they're not doing us any good. They're not giving us any opportunities. They're not creating jobs. They're not putting any taxes back into the community and the State Fire Marshal's Office realizes that they're apart of economic development. "
The State Fire Marshal has created the Downtown Performance Code, where a rapid response team with state and local regulators meet with potential developers, review their plans, and find a way to get the buildings back up and running.
"It's very hard for people to put these buildings in commerce if they have to meet the current codes," said Butch Browning.
"We don't think that's necessary. We think that we can go building by building and work with business owners, work with marketers, and here in downtown Shreveport to find ways to open buildings. "
Dorrett Vanderberg said the Rapid Response Team helped her tremendously get "The Noveena Building back up to code.