Jul 292014
 
A rendering of the Oak Lofts complex included in the demolition application. (via nola.gov)

A rendering of the Oak Lofts complex included in the demolition application. (via nola.gov)

A request to demolish the landscaping business at 8616 Oak Street was approved by a city panel last week, clearing the way for the proposed Oak Lofts condominium development to begin construction.

The four-story Oak Lofts — which will include three upper floors of apartments, with a health club and parking on the ground floor — will replace the Amann & Associates building currently on the property, midway between Leonidas and Joliet streets.

Because of its location in a historic neighborhood, the request to remove the landscaping office requires the approval of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee. Architect Charles Neyrey told the panel last week that the small office building to be demolished is around 20 years old.

Committee members, however, were more concerned with the height of the new structure, questioning how it would fit into the streetscape on Oak. The developers of Oak Lofts have already scaled back the mass of the proposed structure following numerous conversations with neighbors, recessing the fourth floor from the street so it will not be as visible from the street.

“We started the process many months ago,” Neyrey said. “We’ve had several meetings with all the neighbors, all the neighborhood associations, and they’ve all signed off on the project.”

The height of the new building and other features of it have already received approval from the City Planning Commission, Neyrey noted. The NCDC then passed the demolition request by a vote of 8-0.

A request to tear down this home at 1012 Valance was approved. (image via city of New Orleans)

A request to tear down this home at 1012 Valance was approved. (image via city of New Orleans)

The NCDC heard a number of other demolition requests — many of which, including Oak Lofts, were delayed from a meeting earlier this month — around Uptown neighborhoods last week as well:

  • Separate requests to tear down homes at 1012 Valence Street and 1015 Amelia Street and replace them with new houses were approved.
  • Demolition requests at 9107-09 Fig Street and 8829-31 Apple Street in Hollygrove were also approved.
  • Demolition requests at 3516 and 3518A First Street in Central City were approved, but all fines must be paid before the permits can be issued.
  • A request to tear down a house at 920 Dufossat and replace it with a new home was deferred for 30 days so that the NCDC could speak directly with the owner.
  • A request to tear down a house 1934 Peniston Street near the Milan area was withdrawn. The original application had deemed it in “imminent danger of collapse” according to an engineer’s report.
  • A request to waive $13,440 in fines for an after-the-fact demolition at 3819 Magazine Street was not approved. Architect Stephanie Adler said that when she began renovate the building, she discovered the structure “riddled with live termites,” so they dismantled it and kept all the salvageable parts, then began to rebuild.
    Committee member Jenel Hazlett said that, since inspectors visited the site throughout the project, it is unclear whether it was Adler’s or the city’s responsibility to initiate the process of changing the permit from a renovation to a demolition. The vote to waive the fee tied 4-4, a de facto denial of the request that can be appealed to the City Council.
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