Owner, Webre Consulting; Real Estate Developer; Zoning and Permitting Consultant
GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPH
In only three years, Nicole Webre has gone from public servant in City Hall to zoning consultant (Webre Consulting) to self-taught developer of Bakery Village, an urban-infill residential project currently underway in the historic Irish Channel.
Last year Webre purchased the 70,000-square-foot Turnbull Bakery site (bounded by Soraparu, First and St. Thomas streets). From 1946 to 2012, the family-run bakery had operated from the middle of a residential area.
“I saw an opportunity to return the property back to residential,” she says, “to do something in line with the development already going on in the Irish Channel.”
Webre then went about using the zoning and permitting skills she’d always used to help others on her first large scale venture. “I’ve been learning construction, financing, residential marketing on my own,” she says.
Five of Bakery Village’s 15 lots – ranging from 3,600 to 7,000 square feet – are near completion or soon to be under construction. Buyers are free to use one of Webre’s six historic house plans already approved by the local historic district, or develop their own.
“Since the city requires off-street parking, a big selling point is that I’ve incorporated an alleyway in the rear of the properties so there’s no need to waste space on a driveway,” she says.
The leap has been an ambitious one for the young professional, but she says she was ready and the project was a perfect fit in many ways.
“I love New Orleans,” she says. “I was born and raised here and I’ve never been able to leave for more than a week – even to Baton Rouge for school – without getting horribly homesick. This project presented a great way to enhance one of our wonderful historic neighborhoods, plus I think it’s kind of cool that the Turnbull Bakery property has gone from one female entrepreneur to another.”
Mentor: I’ve had many, but definitely my parents. They taught me that education is paramount and to always be independent and rely on myself. There were never any excuses why you couldn’t do something. Defining moment: Deciding to become an entrepreneur, and then having that affirmation from my first clients. Advice for young women: I’ve read a lot of articles about how women tend to lack the confidence to pursue their dreams. I’d say don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from achieving your goals. Goals: To continue to promote cultural commerce in this city. Happily, I have 20 projects sitting in front of me right now. Favorite thing about what I do: I really love the consulting work. I love being able to help other entrepreneurs and owners realize their dreams, grow their revenue and save money as well. It’s so rewarding to help others succeed.