Saenger Theater Restoration, Lambeth House Wellness Center to Commence

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor New Orleans city officials plan to kick off the Saenger Theater renovations this month. The project costs initially estimated at $39 million have escalated since 2009, when the restoration was first announced, and the project now [...]

New Orleans city officials plan to kick off the Saenger Theater renovations this month. The project costs initially estimated at $39 million have escalated since 2009, when the restoration was first announced, and the project now bears a $51 million price tag.

The Saenger’s return is regarded as a key element in the revitalization of the performing arts district and is slated for opening in late 2012 or early 2013. The New Orleans landmark will be transformed into a multipurpose venue, suitable for all sorts of entertainment, including dance shows, music performances, film presentations, corporate assemblies, lectures and community events. As part of the restoration process, some of the theater’s most representative features will be retained, including its original decorative elements and its emblematic constellation pattern on the ceiling, along with the Robert Morton Wonder Organ, as reported by New Orleans City Business.

In connection with the Saenger’s revival, the neighboring former Hotel LaSalle might undergo a major makeover, as well; a nonprofit affordable-housing developer has announced plans to buy and redevelop the four-story building at 1113 Canal St. and turn it into a mixed-use complex, to include 33 affordable rental units and street-level retail space.

North Carolina-based Reliance Housing Foundation plans to invest $11.6 million in the conversion project and grant leasing priority to artists, musicians and employees of performing-arts venues, according to a Times-Picayune story.

In other housing news, Lambeth House, a not-for-profit residential community for people 62 and over in Uptown New Orleans is about to get a facelift. The $18 million expansion and reconstruction project will include the addition of a 50,000-square-foot building to serve as a wellness center. The new facility, which is part of the first phase of the project, will feature amenities such as a lap pool, an art studio, a gym and a salon, as well as 56 new private rooms.

Phase two will include renovations to the nursing-care center, with 11 assisted-living apartments and 14 rooms for a memory-support program, to be added to the existing facility. The entire project is expected to be complete by fall 2013, according to the Times-Picayune.

Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Infrogmation of New Orleans