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$35M Warehouse District Hotel Sparks Local Opposition

12 Jul 2014, 5:06 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

A new 75-foot hotel proposed in the Crescent City’s Warehouse District is heating up talks regarding the city’s master plan and height limitations.  The project, proposed by Ohio-based Filmore Hospitality, envisions a two-building, 178-key Cambria Suites hotel, complete with a meeting room and restaurant, for an L-shaped tract on the 600 block of Tchoupitoulas Street, reports The New Orleans Advocate. The site, comprising 10 lots, is currently a surface parking lot but is owned by hotelier Warren Reuther, who’s got a sales contract in place with Filmore for the site. Filmore’s project – boasting an 85-foot height at the time – was voted down by the City Planning Commission due to concerns regarding traffic, height and disrupting the historic character of the neighborhood. The area height limitation is 65 feet and five stories, while Filmore’s hotel, somewhat downsized from its initial 85 feet, would rise six stories high, with a 75-foot height at its Commerce Street entrance and a 65-foot height on the side fronting Tchoupitoulas Street.

Granaio Lofts

The site is in Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s district; she recently rejected the proposed $20 million luxury apartment project Granaio due to similar concerns, reports Canal Street Beat. The project, helmed by local real estate developer Josh Bruno, envisioned an 18-story apartment project with a two-story penthouse on top. Designed by local architect Wayne Troyer of Studio WTA, it would have included amenities such as a pool, outdoor balconies, private parking, Crestoron technology to control energy usage, lighting, heating, cooling and floodwater management, and a green living bio wall. Interiors would have been signed by Philippe Starck, with internationally awarded urban landscape designer Raymond Jungles also contributing to the project.

The New Orleans City Council is now expected to make a decision regarding the Cambria Suites hotel. Several locals, organized as the group Residents for Responsible Development, have organized a rally to oppose the $35 million project, reported The Times Picayune.

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Image courtesy of Granaio Lofts via Facebook 

Archdiocese of New Orleans Expands Seniors Housing Network

29 Jun 2014, 3:39 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Rouquette IV

Cristopher Homes Inc. has cleared another road stop on the way to building a new seniors housing community in Slidell.  According to The Times-Picayune, the Slidell City Council annexed a 12-acre site fronting US 190/Gause Boulevard West to Slidell city limits and changed the zoning from highway commercial (HC2-2) to high-density urban (A-8). The developers plan to enlarge the water line servicing the site, which could help Slidell with future annexations in the area.

According to The Times-Picayune, the 75-unit senior living complex will take up three acres of the site, leaving the remaining nine acres of wetlands untouched. The Archdiocese of New Orleans will run the housing complex upon completion. Developers have been pursuing the annexation for two years.

Developer Cristopher Homes is a subsidiary of the Archdiocese and has developed a bevy of housing projects, several of which are multi-phase. Cristopher Homes, which describes itself as a provider of “affordable housing for seniors and low-income families for more than 40 years,” is the premier manager of affordable seniors housing in the Gulf Area. Prior to Katrina, the Archdiocese’s housing agency managed 25 properties with more than 2,500 HUD-subsidized seniors housing units and a 200-unit HUD-subsidized family housing facility. According to its website, Cristopher Homes now manages 16 apartment complexes totaling 1,953 units and houses elderly and special needs adults.

Among the holdings of Cristopher Homes and the Archdiocese of New Orleans is the 66-unit Rouquette IV seniors housing facility in Mandeville, La. Expected to open this year and designed by Holly & Smith Architects, the new three-story facility is set to replace a building in St. Bernard Parish that was demolished due to extensive damage suffered during Hurricane Katrina. The project received FEMA funding.

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Image credit: Holly & Smith Architects

55 KSF Former Nursing Home on Market in Trendy Bywater

20 Jun 2014, 11:41 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

If you were charmed by the assisted living center to high-end apartments redevelopment of St. Anna’s, here’s your chance to try your hand at a similar project. The four-story, 75-unit former St. Margaret’s Daughters nursing home/assisted living center has been listed on the market by Corporate Realty at the asking price of $1,985,000, or $26,466.67 per unit.

The 55,115-square-foot former nursing home was initially built as a hospital in the 1970s, but was converted to an assisted living center in 2007, after Hurricane Katrina. It sits on a 49,933-square-foot L-shaped tract bounded by St. Claude Avenue and Gallier, Marais and Desire streets. Floors three and four comprise 25 units each, as well as an activity room, staff lounge and office. The ground level housed exercise rooms, a beauty parlor, a kitchen and dining hall, a chapel, a laundry room, a lobby and support operations. The property had undergone renovations, except the second floor, which was not in use. The property also includes a paved parking area and a courtyard. The masonry-and-concrete building features a stucco exterior, painted sheetrock walls, a suspended tile ceiling and laminate-and-tile floor.

The property also includes a 5,322-square-foot unfinished penthouse, as well as a 471-square-foot electrical building and a 580-square-foot portable building, neither of which is included in the building’s area determination. The former hospital and nursing home is located in the trendy, up-and-coming Bywater neighborhood.

The former nursing home was recently vacated by St. Margaret’s Daughters Homes, as the organization moved to Mid-City, according to Curbed NOLA. In 2013, the assisted-living non-profit embarked on a $37 million renovation of the 115,000-square-foot former Lindy Boggs Medical Center in 2013 to a 112-bed nursing home that would focus on creating a communal, home-like atmosphere for residents and would be named St. Margaret’s at Mercy, reported The Times-Picayune at the time.

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Image via Google Maps 

After Nine Years, Walmart Reopens in New Orleans East

16 Jun 2014, 5:01 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Crescent City recently celebrated another milestone in its rebirth, with the opening of New Orleans East Walmart on the former site of the Katrina-ravaged Lakeland Medical Center.  The newly opened Supercenter at 6000 Bullard Ave. marks the return of the big-box retailer to Eastern New Orleans after nine years of absence, brought on by the 2005 destruction of the previous Eastern New Orleans store at 6901 Bundy Road.

According to nolaeast.com, at 177,000 square feet, the newly opened retail center features one of the largest store sizes in the Walmart construction program. It sells groceries and general merchandise and also features a pharmacy. The new store has created more than 400 full- and part-time jobs, 300 of which are new employment while the rest are transfers from other stores. Twenty-five of the New Orleans East Walmart associates were among the employees of the destroyed Bundy Road facility. Around 65 percent of the new jobs will be filled by New Orleans East residents, Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared at the store’s grand opening.

“The opening of this new Walmart not only gives the residents of District E the convenience of shopping nearby, it allows the city of New Orleans to capture sales taxes on the millions that will be spent here every year — tax money that can be used to replace street lights and pave roads,” said District E Councilmember James Gray II. He added that the retail giant acts “as a magnet for development,” with numerous businesses already expressing interest in opening in the surrounding area.

“The New Orleans East Walmart is yet another example of the retail boom we’re experiencing all across the city of New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu commented, adding that “this is another step in rebuilding our city and restoring quality services in our neighborhoods.”

Even before purchasing the Bullard Road site, Walmart had promised to rebuild in New Orleans East, which was alarmingly underserved retail-wise. As previously reported, New Orleans East, home to around 70,000 residents — almost one-fifth of the city’s population — had remained without a retail center after Hurricane Katrina.

Walmart is also developing a new store in Gentilly, set to open later this year on the former site of the Gentilly Woods Shopping Center. Including the newly opened store, Walmart operates 18 locations in the greater New Orleans area.

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Image courtesy of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Walmart Supercenter New Orleans via Facebook 

$8M Investment Revives Historic Covington Hotel

8 Jun 2014, 4:47 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The newly renovated Southern Hotel

The historic 42-key Southern Hotel in Covington has wrapped up an almost two-year renovation process and is open for business, reported The Times-Picayune. Purchased in 2011 by developers and owner-operators Lisa Condrey Ward, Joseph Ward, Ricky Condrey and Gayle Condrey for $1.79 million, the 1907-built hotel was approved for redevelopment by the Covington Historic District Commission in October 2012. It was also declared eligible for historic tax credits. According to an earlier report by The Times-Picayune, the hotel represents an $8 million investment.

As previously reported, the Mission-style hotel now features 42 guest rooms and amenities that include a 2,400-square-foot ballroom, meeting space, fitness rooms, spa, plunge pool, lush courtyard, water features and the Upscale Cypress Bar, complete with patio and fireplace.  A 2,480-square-foot, newly built restaurant is expected to open in mid-July. Named Ox Lot 9, the upscale eatery got its name from the previous use of the vacant site on which it was developed.  New Orleans-based Trapolin-Peer Architects was brought in to oversee the renovation of the property into a modern hotel without losing its historic character and features. The full-service hotel has created 27 new full- and part-time jobs.

Southern Hotel prior to renovation

Located 45 minutes from downtown New Orleans, the Southern Hotel initially opened in 1907 as a hotel, but the property had a multitude of uses throughout the years: sanitarium, retail, St. Tammany Parish offices and courtroom. It even served as the headquarters of various federal agencies and the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It sat mostly vacant for the past several years.

For more New Orleans market data, click here.

Image courtesy of Southern Hotel via Facebook.

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