It’s no secret to those that have dipped their toe in the water of New Orleans real estate recently that the stream of activity resembles more of a rushing rapid with unexpected twists and turns included. The tone of the market possesses a buzz that surprises even the most seasoned flippers and investors, and it shows more promise than concern. We all know these things ebb and flow, but it’s the perception of spaces that is changing the fastest, the intangible becoming realized in the tangible. More specifically, let’s look at a cute double that recently flipped in the heart of Central City, but hold on to your hat. And, as usual, for clarity/disclosure, I did not participate in any part in any of these sales; effectively, I am only an observer fascinated by the pace at which these changes are taking place.
The Roly Poly restaurant on Tchoupitoulas Street is slated be torn down and replaced with a new Regions Bank at the corner of Jefferson Avenue, according to a demolition request pending before the city.
A new “lot maintenance program” passed by New Orleans City Council will allow the city to cut grass on blighted private property, recording the cost on that property owner’s tax bill.
The program, created as part of an amendment to an existing ordinance, allows the city to cut overgrowth, remove debris and perform routine maintenance on a private lot if the grass or growth is over 18 inches, there is trash or debris and/or if there is “noxious” growth, such as poison ivy, according to a presentation given by city administration in a Housing and Human Needs committee last month.
The Faubourg Livaudais Neighborhood Association will host City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other city officials reporting on the fight against blight and fire safety at their February monthly meeting Thursday evening.
As the Spanish-American Church heads back to the New Orleans City Council this week for another request to tear down their decaying building on Sophie Wright Place, neighbors and members of the Coliseum Square Association hope the stalemate over the building will lead to stronger enforcement of blight laws against neglectful nonprofits.
A new petition protesting a plan to reroute freight trains through Hollygrove has gained 1,000 signatures, according to a report in Mid-City Messenger. “We Won’t Be Railroaded,” the coalition of Hollygrove and Mid-City residents behind the petition, hopes to have 10,000 signatures by mid-Spring, according to the story.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”
That’s apparently the motto of the First Spanish American Baptist Church (FSABC), which owns the dilapidated wood-frame building located at 1824 Sophie Wright Place in the Lower Garden District. Their latest application to demolish the structure was rejected this past Thursday by the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC).
The latest request to demolish the First Spanish-American Baptist Church building in the Lower Garden District — listed in 2011 as one of the most endangered historic structures in New Orleans — was denied with more stern words from city officials Thursday, but the fate of the structure remains uncertain as it continues to decay.
Loyola University has staked out a clear position on its St. Charles properties: “We are not tearing down any mansions.”
However, many local residents are less than sanguine regarding Loyola’s intentions. Loyola presently owns the Fabacher Mansion in the 7300 block of St. Charles Avenue. The proposed comprehensive zoning ordinance will change the zoning on this iconic property from RM-4 (moderate residential density) to EC (Educational Campus).
On a sleepy stretch at Loyola and Third in the heart of Central City amid a myriad of churches (some with an active congregation, some not so much), there sits a veritable historic housing preservationist’s dream, a 19th Century relic in what would otherwise appear to might have been a corner grocery or barroom. But not so fast, judges of book by covers! Look closer at the empirical data and ask some of the older area locals, and this hiding-in-plain-sight wood frame structure was by all accounts (or those willing to provide accounts) once upon a time a place unequivocally identified as the neighborhood brothel, dba The Dream Boat Inn.
During the meeting, Irish Channel resident Mark Redding appeared with a map blighted properties in his neighborhood, including the former Sara Mayo Hospital on Jackson Avenue, and beseeched the city to do better, according to Mid-City Messenger‘s report: “We want to continue to invest in the area and we think it’s moving in a good direction, but we need the city to step up and do your job. Quite frankly, we’re tired of hearing the same things,” Redding said.
The possibility that an upscale student-housing development may be planned for the large block of Freret Street where the former Frank’s Steakhouse still remains a shuttered landmark is being met with concern and questions by people in the neighborhood.
The official motto of the Landrieu Administration’s blight eradication efforts should probably be: “We can’t do much, but we’ll do more of it!”
Case in point: A week ago, I read an Action Report from Bill Capo at WWL about a house in Central City that is nearly collapsing onto another. An entire wall has become detached. A couple of two-by-fours mounted between the homes is all that is preventing it from completely falling over.
Residents of the Freret neighborhood are banding together to help out two longtime homeowners, supporting one man in the struggle to keep the city from selling his home at sheriff’s auction and raising money with a fundraiser tonight to help repair another woman’s damaged roof.
PROLOGUE: In 2009 on Freret St at an open house I held, a septuagenarian realtor I can only imagine being more local than local sneered in my general direction as she exited, “Freret’s never coming back.” Then being a believer myself, I felt at once insulted and repulsed, as if she’d purposely urinated on the floor and thought nothing of it. After all, in many ways I came to feel it was her generation that had largely abandoned the city proper, swapping distinctive neighborhoods for blanched strip malls and multi-laned thoroughfares, leaving behind a devil-may-care swath of once vibrant stretches, the very core that the surrounding region’s commerce and population sprang from. Now, in 2013, Freret crowns front pages, but without question there’s still much to be done.
The Florida housing development has undergone a metamorphosis at the hands of Brandan “BMike” Odums, a 27-year-old art educator and literacy advocate.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, 127 shiny new apartments had recently been built in the Florida housing development, an 18.5-acre tract of land in the Upper Ninth Ward. The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) had plans to build more. That didn’t happen, though. The units were damaged so badly during and after the storm that HANO closed down the Florida. The property has sat abandoned and rotting for eight years, yet another Katrina eyesore in the city.
Odums has taken the 17 or so crumbling townhouses that remain and turned them into mini art galleries called #ProjectBe — artistic alchemy, if you will, his way of transforming the ugliness of blight into an electrifying participatory art project.
A Central City resident who renovated her home is using plywood nailed to the outside wall to prop up the blighted house next door in hopes of keeping it from collapsing, according to a report by Bill Capo of our partners at WWL-TV.
Given the explosion of commercial growth on Freret Street — from only a single restaurant four years ago to 14 blocks of highly-lauded cuisine, new entertainment venues and businesses ranging from a dog-groomer to a craft-cocktail lounge — concerns about gentrification should be expected. But after that heated meeting in March, the proponents and opponents literally walked away from the school building together down the sidewalk, relying on relationships and respect forged over decades to find a middle ground — suggesting that, perhaps, something is different about what’s happening on Freret.