The historic Kline’s Cafe Building (KCB) is about to begin its journey to its new location, as the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) prepares to start construction on its new 1.2 acre downtown Rockport campus, with more than 22,000 square feet of facilities.
With deep historic ties to the Rockport community, the KCB most recently served as the home for the RCA (December 2017 to December 2019). In a joint effort between the RCA and KCB’s eventual owner, Upside Ventures, LLC out of Austin, the 1940s-era building will begin its historic move at approximately 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 31.
It will be moved from its current location at 106 S. Austin St, to 504 S. Magnolia St. The building will move west on North Street, and then south on Magnolia Street. The four-block journey is expected to take two days.
Ram House Movers is in charge of moving the 220-ton building. The structure has a slab on grade foundation, and is made with masonry, cinder block, stucco walls, and a wood frame roof.
Ram House Movers has worked on significant projects in Texas, most notably relocating the History Center for Aransas County to its present location on Cedar Avenue, as well as moving the Stillman House from Corpus Christi to its present location in Brownsville.
Upside Ventures owns and manages commercial interests in Austin and Rockport. Once the KCB relocation is complete, the company plans additional improvements, including ADA accessibility and beautification of the site through landscaping. The KCB will meet FEMA elevation requirements at its new site
Upside Ventures poured a new concrete foundation, and the 14-day concrete crush test has met engineering designs.
The RCA wrote a detailed relocation plan that was approved by the Texas Historical Commission. In 2020, RCA retained Dallas architectural historian Amaterra, LLC to prepare historical documentation regarding the 70-plus-year-old structure. It was determined that the KCB is significant under Criterion C, architecture, as a good example of Art Moderne at the local level of significance.
The historical documentation can be found at RockportArtCenter.com.