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Jun. 18, 2013

The Domain Companies Secures Financing for New Orleans Mixed-Use Development

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

New Orleans—The Domain Companies has secured financing and started construction on The South Market District, a mixed-use transit-oriented development in downtown New Orleans.

The District encompasses a four-block area that runs along both sides of Girod Street, from Loyola Avenue to Baronne Street.

“Domain was attracted to the South Market site as the lots represent the best development sites in downtown New Orleans,” Matt Schwartz, principal of The Domain Companies, tells MHN. “We were able to assemble nearly four square blocks at the intersection of the Warehouse District, Sports & Entertainment District and the CBD. The location allows us to create a mixed-use district within walking distance from downtown’s employment and entertainment centers.”

The Paramount at South Market will be the first building erected and will feature 209 apartments and 22,000 square feet of retail space.

“The Paramount was designed as the premier multifamily property in the market and will be unlike anything that exists in New Orleans today,” Schwartz says. “The property’s common areas deviate from the typical apartment building, designed in a fashion similar to a lifestyle hotel, with spaces that are more functional and promote interaction and socializing among residents.”

Designed by Humphreys & Partners Architects and Studio 9 Architects, the five-story building will achieve Silver LEED for Homes certification and features a design based upon a modern interpretation of the architectural influences of the Warehouse District.

Amenities include interesting and varied indoor and outdoor seating areas throughout including an indoor/outdoor “cave” area, large outdoor pool, cyber café, outdoor kitchen and a large fitness center with a mix of equipment tailored for the latest fitness programs.

The ground floor will feature retail storefronts along Girod, O’Keefe and a portion of Lafayette and S. Rampart. Total development cost for The Paramount is $48.4 million. Oak Grove Capital provided a $38.3 million loan insured through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 220 Program.

Since securing the sites, over $500 million of improvements have taken place immediately surrounding the property including major enhancements to the Superdome and Arena, major renovations to hotels and office buildings, a new grocery store, new restaurants, entertainment destinations, apartments and now the addition of convenient public transportation.

“In addition to the proximity to transportation, employment and amenities, we saw an opportunity to create value by enhancing Girod Street, which will serve as the spine of the new District,” Schwartz says. “We secured approval to widen the sidewalks on both sides of Girod from seven to 20 feet, allow for sidewalk cafes, and allow for longer operating hours for sidewalk cafes within the District.”

These enhancements are expected to transform Girod into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly environment, complete with a mix of restaurants and retailers.

“Domain’s focus is on large-scale community development in urban core locations,” Schwartz says. “We look for opportunities to develop a targeted, long-term strategy where several complimentary investments work to enhance communities, improve lives and livelihoods and create lasting value.”

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