A new owner has purchased the Desel-Boettcher Building (1912) at 901 Commerce Avenue in the Main Street/Market Square Historic District and plans to rehabilitate the building, which was damaged last year in the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. The property was the home of the Old Spaghetti Warehouse for more than four decades. When the restaurant opened in 1974, it was one the first successful redevelopment projects in the Market Square area. A spokesperson for 901 Commerce LLC, which purchased the historic building, told the Houston Chronicle that the firm believes in the property's potential and wants to take part in the resurgence in that part of downtown.
Businessman and real estate developer B.A. Riesner built the warehouse in 1912 for the Desel-Boettcher Company, the state's largest fruit and produce wholesaler, which advertised itself as "The Fancy Fruit House of Texas." At the time, Commerce Avenue was lined with warehouses that housed cargo from the Port of Houston at Allen's Landing. Today the Desel-Boettcher Building and a handful of its neighbors are among the only remnants of the old port district.
The Desel-Boettcher Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the federal roster of properties worthy of preservation, so the new owners could take advantage of combined state and federal preservation incentives for an approved rehabilitation project. The building's National Register listing also requires flood-control projects that receive federal funds to minimize negative impacts to the historic building. Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission would have to approve any proposed changes to the exterior because Desel-Boettcher is a contributing building in the locally designated Main Street/Market Square Historic District.
Preservation Houston will keep its members informed as plans for the building are developed.