PH Watch List: Cohen Building

Preservation Houston is creating a watch list to identify threatened historic buildings that could be redeveloped using local, state and federal preservation incentives. PH has traditionally worked behind the scenes contacting owners, architects and developers to explain the benefits of rehabilitating and repurposing historic properties. The watch list will provide PH members with regular updates on threatened buildings. 

Cohen Building (1929, Joseph Finger) /  photo by Jim Parsons

Cohen Building (1929, Joseph Finger) / photo by Jim Parsons

Cohen Building

The Cohen Building, 2919-35 Main Street, is one of the last surviving reminders of a time when the stretch of Main Street in the old South End — now known as Midtown — was Houston’s first suburban retail corridor.

Detail, Cohen Building /  photo by Jim Parsons

Detail, Cohen Building / photo by Jim Parsons

Real estate developer Ben Cohen completed the building at the corner of Main and Anita in 1929. Architect Joseph Finger incorporated distinctive finials, trim and other exotic details above the storefronts. "The design will be Chinese … worked out in tile and cast stone to secure a pagoda effect," the Houston Chronicle reported in September 1928. The Finger Radio Company (later Finger Furniture) was a tenant from 1932 to 1936. Today the Cohen Building is prime for redevelopment given new construction in the area and its proximity to the MetroRail line and the new Midtown Park.

Preservation Houston has contacted the property owner and Midtown Houston staff to explain the benefits of designating the building as a City of Houston protected landmark. PH has offered to research and write the local landmark nomination, which must be requested by the property owner. Certified historic buildings that are rehabilitated to high standards may also qualify for state and federal preservation incentives.

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