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$120M Hyatt House to Open in 24-Story CBD Office Building

21 Oct 2014, 1:15 am

 By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Hyatt Regency New Orleans (front and left) and 1250 Poydras St. (back on the right)

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has announced the development of a new Hyatt property in New Orleans. Set to open in 2015 at 1250 Poydras St., the new location will operate under the Hyatt House brand, New Orleans’ first. Launched in 2012, the residentially inspired Hyatt House offers guests studio, one- and two-bedroom suites featuring full kitchens.

As a testament to the city’s booming tourism industry, the new 194-key location will be developed at 1250 Poydras St., the CBD’s largest contiguous Class A office space, taking up seven floors of the building’s 24 levels. The hotel lobby will occupy the 11th floor, while guest rooms will take up floors 12 through 17. Expected to open in 2015, the Hyatt House will be adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Arena and the booming BioDistrict. It will also be just a few blocks away from the French Quarter, the Mississippi Riverfront and the Morial Convention Center.  Courtesy of a second story skybridge, the new hotel will be connected to the 1,193-key Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which reopened in 2011 after a $275 million redesign. The sky bridge will ensure Hyatt House guests have access to the Regency’s amenities.

The 134,000-square-foot New Orleans Hyatt House will be operated by Hyatt Hotel affiliate Select Hotels Group LLC. The latter has entered into a management agreement with an affiliate of Waypoint NOLA LLC for the 194-key hotel. The conversion from vacant office space to New Orleans Hyatt House will be financed by a $120 million loan from Starwood Property Trust subsidiary Starwood Property Mortgage LLC.  The loan is guaranteed by a 60-year lease from building owner Poydras Properties to Waypoint NOLA.

ENI Petroleum had leased 56,000 square feet of the future hotel space through October 2018, but it had sat vacant for several years, ever since ENI Petroleum moved its New Orleans operations to Houston. The new project’s lease buyout saved ENI $2.5 million in future lease expenses.

Robert Hand, president of Louisiana Commercial Realty LLC, who marketed the space, said: “Of the 9,000,000 square feet of Class A CBD office space, over 1 million square feet of Class A CBD office space is for lease, and half of that is full floor space. With the thriving New Orleans tourism-based economy, there is more demand for hotel use than for full-floor Class A office space.”

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image via Hyatt Regency New Orleans

80 Mixed-Income Apartments Coming to Historic Downtown Building

11 Oct 2014, 6:09 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The fomer Pythian building at 234 Loyola Ave.

Developer Green Coast Enterprises, in partnership with the Crescent City Community Land Trust (CCCLT), has closed on the sale of the historic Pythian Temple building at 234 Loyola Ave., clearing the last hurdle in the way of development, reported Canal Street Beat.  Green Coast purchased the 105-year-old property from Johnann LLC for $4.8 million, a purchase price that includes a $3.78 million mortgage and securities agreement with Enterprise Community Loan Funds, an affordable housing lender.

The mixed-use project will feature 80 one- and two-bedroom apartments, including one floor of two-level loft-style units in the building’s former dance hall. The 10-story development will feature a mixture of market-rate and affordable units. The ground floor and mezzanine will offer 11,000 square feet of sub-dividable commercial space that will be built out to tenant specifications.

Green Coast will act as developer, project and performance monitoring manager. The development team also includes general contractor Landis Construction and architects Studio WTA.

Although the partnership only recently closed the sale, it officially launched redevelopment in late December 2013. The first phase involved removing the modern cladding and stabilizing exterior bricks to restore the property’s historic air.

The project will add much-needed affordable housing options to Downtown New Orleans, an increasingly popular residential submarket that has out-priced many residents. It will offer affordable housing to residents earning too much to qualify for subsidized housing but too little to afford downtown rents. The partnership expects many of its tenant will be employees of the nearby biosciences district.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Green Coast Enterprises

670 KSF Former World Trade Center Hits Development Block Again

6 Oct 2014, 4:51 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

2 Canal Street (former New Orleans World Trade Center)

The city of New Orleans and the New Orleans Building Corp. are seeking new developers and project ideas for the redevelopment of the 33-story former World Trade Center. The former World Trade Center, located at 2 Canal St., has been in development limbo for several months, after an ambitious $190 million redevelopment project by Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital Corp. fell through.

“The redevelopment of 2 Canal St. is an incredible opportunity to capitalize on this iconic building’s important location as we continue to revitalize our Riverfront,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared. “The New Orleans market is very strong now, making this an opportune time for this exciting project to move forward,” he added.

The city is looking for proposals to redevelop the 670,000-square-foot property into a Class A commercial or mixed-use building. Plans can include a mix of luxury residential, hotel, office and retail. The property is eligible for historic tax credits and EB-5 financing. The selected developer will be obliged to sign a long-term lease, development and operation agreement. Interested developers need to file their Request for Qualifications by Nov. 15. City officials wish to ink an agreement with the chosen developer in the first quarter of 2015, in hopes of starting development soon after.

As previously reported, Gatehouse Capital Corp. was selected as developer of the trophy property about a year ago. The $190 million project envisioned turning the 407-foot former office building into a 410-key W hotel, with 280 luxury apartments occupying the upper half. The project would have also included reviving the 33rd floor rotating jazz cocktail lounge and restaurant. The deal fell apart during lease negotiations. According to Curbed Nola, Gatehouse’s$10 million upfront payment for the 99-year lease was considered insufficient. The developer then offered to purchase the property at 105 percent of the building’s market value. The city declined, as it does not wish to sell the high-profile office building, seeing a long-term lease as a more profitable revenue source.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons

New Orleans Hotels Rebrand, Expand and Start Anew

29 Sep 2014, 4:13 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

It’s not breaking news that New Orleans is a thriving tourist hub. As such, hotel development is a big part of the city’s real estate business. Recently, a string of new hotel developments lit up the local real estate and tourism sectors.

With New Orleans short 3,000 hotel keys, the Lower Garden District’s Prytania Park Hotel is looking to fill up some of that need, reports The New Orleans Advocate. The 60-key hotel is set to kick off a two-phase 140-key expansion on adjacent vacant lots. The first phase will add 48 keys in a new guestroom building, while phase two will introduce an additional 90 in another structure. According to Canal Street Beat, both buildings will be five stories high. A 113-car, two-level parking facility, a rooftop garden and a Lula distillery restaurant will also be added. Upon its late 2015 or early 2016 completion, Prytania Park will rebrand as the Avenue Oaks Hotel.

Downtown’s O’Keefe Plaza Hotel will also rebrand, reports Canal Street Beat. The six-story, 129-key CBD hotel will undergo renovations to convert to a Holiday Inn Express. Renovations will target both exterior work, such as structural modifications of the roof, as well as interior work, such as guest room finishes and alterations to the lobby and breakfast area. O’Keefe Plaza was purchased in July by New York-based Garrison Investment Group for $10.75 million.

The Cotton Exchange

Another CBD hotel, The Cotton Exchange, is also headed toward rebranding.  The 223-key property was selected by AC Hotels by Marriott as the brand’s first U.S. location, announced Canal Street Beat. The property will undergo a $12 million conversion that will add an urban air to the property, with a design inspired by Milan’s fashion world, while still preserving historic features such as the original glass windows, tiled lobby and marble archway.

If approved, a proposed 80-key hotel at 111 Iberville St. might break the French Quarter’s moratorium on new hotels, reported The Times-Picayune.  The ban on new hotel development was implemented in 1969 to prevent The Quarter from turning into nothing more than a tourist zone. Developers Wayne and David Ducote plan on redeveloping a seven-story historic former sugar mill into an 80-key boutique hotel. The project would increase the property slightly from its current 37,900 square feet to 41,900 square feet by enlarging the ground and top floors. The enlargements would accommodate a restaurant, pool and office.

Click here for additional New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons

$35M Low-Income Seniors Housing Facility Opens in New Orleans High-Rise

21 Sep 2014, 5:42 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Marais Apartments

The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) recently provided important updates on efforts to provide safe, affordable and equitable housing to the residents of New Orleans, especially as part of rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Modernization is well underway at the 483-unit Guste housing development’s Guste III phase. And redevelopment is moving along on phase two of the $148 million, 276-unit Fabourg Lafitte project. Both projects are mixed-income communities.  At the same time, the 51-unit, $14 million Florida housing community is nearing completion.

The most important update given by HANO, however, was the recent opening of the 112-unit Marais Apartments, a $35 million low-income seniors housing complex located at 101 Marais St. in the upper Canal Street area. The project is the first off-site housing within the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative currently revitalizing the historic Iberville and Tremé neighborhoods of central New Orleans.  It is also a significant redevelopment project, having given a new life to the blighted former Texaco high-rise. As previously reported, a landmark of downtown New Orleans and part of the National Register of Historic Places, the structure had sat vacant for 15 years and had not fared well during Katrina.

The 17-story Marais Apartments comprises 100 one-bedroom apartments and 12 studios available for seniors 62 and older. Amenities at the former New Orleans Texaco headquarters include a fitness facility, community room with kitchen, laundry facilities, multi-purpose room, reading and computer room,  beauty salon, intercom-access gardening terrace and 17th-floor terrace with sweeping views of the Big Easy.  The tower features 2,000 square feet of retail space fronting Canal Street, which is up for lease.

Marais is an income-restricted property. Residents can not earn more than $24,640 (singles) or $28,240 (couples), reports The Times-Picayune, adding that rents clock in at $650 for studios and $740 for one-bedroom units. The same source reported that the occupancy was at 94 percent.

Marais Apartments is the result of a collaboration between HANO, the city of New Orleans and HRI Properties. Landis Construction served as general contractor on the project. Financing was amassed from a multitude of public sources, such as a subordinate loan from the Louisiana Office of Community Development, Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-exempt bonds issued by the Louisiana Housing Corp. Private financial project partners include AEGON USA Realty Advisors LLC, Chase Bank and Stonehenge Capital Co.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Images courtesy of HRI Properties

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