Big real estate developments tend to attract a lot more attention than their smaller brethren, which is why a few big projects that are under way or proposed in downtown New Orleans have tended to dominate local business news.
The much-watched proposal to remake the World Trade Center building into a Four Seasons hotel and luxury condominiums, for instance, appears finally headed for an actual launch, as prolonged litigation gets resolved. Once construction begins, the activity at the foot of Poydras and Canal streets will be hard to ignore.
Meanwhile, the chic 15-story apartment building called The Standard, which is rising amid the Domain Companies’ sprawling array of downtown developments, is also turning heads. The various Domain projects, which include several residential buildings and a variety of retail offerings, have grabbed headlines as they helped to transform a large section of downtown.
But along with these hefty developments, a host of smaller-but-significant projects have recently opened or are angling toward fruition. Here is a look at a few that are either newly opened or proposed for construction.
Low-cost digs for travelers on Canal
An area long targeted by planners for upgrading will get a boost when a major developer of hostels opens a new inn next year. Hosteling International plans an extensive renovation of the building at 1028 Canal St. and a portion of the next-door structure at 1036 Canal to provide low-cost overnight accommodations for up to 150 people. The building will become New Orleans’ largest hostel, which is a type of shared accommodation popularized in Europe and embraced particularly by young, budget-sensitive travelers. The developer plans to make maximum used of common areas to promote the social and cross-cultural experience that appeals to hostel devotees.
Co-Living development in Warehouse District
Another project that primarily targets a young, budget-minded demographic is one called Two Saints, proposed by developer Marcel Wisznia on St. Charles Avenue in the Warehouse District. The project would create 230 “co-living” spaces in a new building that would incorporate two existing structures and replace a parking lot. The concept – another first for New Orleans – would create clusters of four private bedrooms and baths within a suite in which residents would share kitchen, dining and living-room space. The project targets workers in the downtown hospitality industry who are having difficulty finding affordable apartments near their jobs.
New apartments at Howard and Baronne
Making a dent in the rising demand for downtown living options, developer Christian Cancienne has launched a remake of the former Howard & Baronne Storage Center at 846 Baronne St. His $34 million project will add another floor to the four-story building and create 50 apartments, with retail shops on the ground floor.
French Quarter luxury
Cancienne is also the developer behind a remake at 220 Decatur St. in the French Quarter, where he turned an aging, unused building into 16 luxury condominiums. He took advantage of historic rehabilitation tax credits to complete the $7 million project, and his condos went on the market in June.
The revamp of the historic building that once housed the offices of New Orleans Public Service Inc. was a long time coming, but the new NOPSI Hotel finally opened in July and has taken its place among other classy re-uses of stately old buildings. Built in 1927 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former electric utility headquarters now houses 217 guest rooms, including 76 suites, a rooftop pool and bar, and an upscale restaurant called Public Service. The developer, Building and Land Technology, bought the building in 2015 for $12 million and invested $33 million into the renovation
A $50 million residential project designed by Trapolin-Peer Architects and Woodward Design proposes to create nearly 200 apartments in place of an aging warehouse at 730 Julia St. The warehouse would be demolished but an old, two-story carriage house on the property would become part of the new building. The Industrial Development Board recently approved a payment-in-lieu of taxes arrangement for the project, which eases the developer’s tax responsibility during the early years of the project. The five-story building will house one- and two-bedroom apartments, 144 off-street parking spaces and ground-floor retail.
Central City could be the home of a new “green” hotel under a proposal by developer Gerard Bourgeois Jr. He and other investors would like to build a four-story, 42-room hotel equipped with a host of energy-efficient, resource-conserving features. If the proposal passes muster with city planners and regulators, the $5 million project would rise on a site currently occupied by a vacant warehouse, just off St Charles Avenue along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Cityscapes: Notable Developments
Better Outdoor Spaces
As the downtown area bustles with new residential activity, both locals and visitors are getting more choices of outdoor areas that make for interesting ramblings. The city has undertaken a $3 million renovation of a section of the riverfront that opened as a result of a property exchange by the Port of New Orleans. Meanwhile, ongoing development of the Lafitte Greenway will enable biking or walking through appealing green spaces along a stretch that runs from the French Quarter to City Park.
St. Roch Market Stretches Out
A developer has partnered with the increasingly popular St. Roch Market to open a similar fresh food-oriented site on Magazine Street in the Warehouse District. The new Auction House Market, to be located in a building that will house apartments on the upper floor, will feature a variety of food vendors, and follows on the heels of the new Pythian Market, which recently opened not far away.