Except for occasional event uses, like the Day for Night festival, the massive former Barbara Jordan Post Office on Franklin Street has sat vacant for four years.
Within the next year, development company Lovett will transform it into a mixed-use development with retail, food and co-working spaces.
"Post Houston," as the development will simply be called, will also have a large rooftop area with a view of downtown.
"There's a nearly six-acre rooftop, which will be divided into a rooftop park, designed by Hoerr Schaudt, and then also a rooftop farm on the east," Jason Long, partner with architecture firm OMA, which redesigned the facility, said during a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday.
There will be three atriums with distinct themes on two levels.
The redevelopment comes at a time when more people are moving downtown and residential development here is booming.
"As you redevelop an urban area, you can't get enough of the urban mix, which is living, working, playing all in one place," Bob Eury, president of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, said about the "Post."
This development offers all that, he said, and is in a strategic location – in the downtown Historic District, the Theater District and at the foot of the Washington corridor.
"In many ways, it's sort of the center of the universe in terms of its location," Eury said.
He expects residential buildings on the site to follow not long after the Post development is completed, which is expected to be next summer.
Click on the audio above to listen to an interview with Bob Eury.