Repurposed Cameron Iron Works building debuts in East End

Andrew Kaldis has brought a new twist to his recently opened historic redevelopment of the Cameron Iron Works building in the East End.

The shipping containers were reused to serve as cafes, retail and office space in part of the 64,000 square foot Ironworks development at 711 Milby. Over 20 containers are configured in various sizes, some with upper decks, in the 1940s industrial building.

“This is probably the first container development of this magnitude in Houston,” said Kaldis, who specializes in transforming older buildings into creative work and retail environments.

The use of containers allows for flexibility, with spaces as small as 100 square feet offered for rent, while still retaining architectural features such as the exposed steel trusses, he said. Restoration of the building included sanding the original steel framed windows and replacing 5,700 glass panels.

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Cameron Iron Works was founded on the site by Harry Cameron and James Abercrombie in 1920. Now part of the Schlumberger Oil Services Company, the company is credited with inventing the blowout prevention device. A 6,000-pound Cameron eruption shutter from 1926 is on display in the lobby of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to the container spaces, the building has additional office space and space for a bar and patio along St. Joseph Street. The commercial section includes a common lounge for the use of food service tenants and stores selling products such as vintage clothing or CBD products. The property is 57% occupied by tenants including Segunda Coffee Lab, Shop Local and Cargo. Keller Williams Houston Central anchors Ironworks in its own wing.

Part of the building will remain industrial until the market improves, Kaldis said. BMS Autoworks rents space for an auto repair shop.

Kaldis Development is working on the next phase of the project with the restoration of the adjacent 1935 art deco brick building. Page provided architectural design services.

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