Historic Landmark Begins Transformation into Artist Lofts in New Orleans

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New Orleans--It has been nearly six years since New Orleans was hit by a devastating hurricane, but the post-Katrina revitalization of the City continues and a former condiment factory is going to play its part.

New Orleans–It has been nearly six years since New Orleans was hit by a devastating hurricane, but the post-Katrina revitalization of the City continues and a former condiment factory is going to play its part. HRI Properties and JCH Development have kicked off a conversion of the historic property that was once the Blue Plate Mayonnaise factory into the $25 million, mixed-income Blue Plate Artist Lofts.

Located in the historic and culturally rich Gert Town community, the 72 work-live artist lofts will come to life within the walls of a structure that is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. “It is one of the few examples of Art Moderne architecture in the City, and the location, size and signage have an emotional connection to the neighborhood,” Tara Hernandez, president of JCH Development President and project executive for the project, tells MHN.

With the redevelopment process, the Blue Plate sign will shine once again, and as for the emotional connection, many neighborhood residents remember the sign and the relatives who once punched their time cards at the production plant. “There are still members of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes in the neighborhood and the Blue Plate building is located in a designated Louisiana Cultural District, which promotes cultural activities,” Hernandez notes.

HRI and JCH had always planned to convert the Blue Plate into a residential destination, and the partners decided to focus on artist lofts for the common good. “Emerging artists are often the spark for economic activity, as we’ve seen in other cities across the country. The creative community generates new life.”

And the project will not only create economic opportunities, but historic redevelopment opportunities as well. “There are some historic single-family houses in the area, which are a very important part of our culture in New Orleans,” she adds.

Blue Plate Artist Lofts will be accessible to those with incomes below and above the Area Median Income. “There are federal incentives administered through the state for mixed-income in post-Katrina New Orleans.” But the decision was based on more than financing; for the developers, it was about creating a community that is reflective of the city itself.

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