Demolitions create a tear in the fabric of a neighborhood, Faubourg Delachaise residents say

Three rundown ranch-style buildings that the Historic District Landmarks Commission recently approved for demolition were classified by HDLC staff as “non-contributing,” a label given to buildings found to be “not historically or architecturally significant.”

To the Faubourg Delachaise neighbors who addressed the commission on Aug. 4, however, the one-story four-plexes at 900 Aline St., 901 Foucher St. and 909 Foucher contributed to the neighborhood in ways that may not be evident to a casual observer or HDLC commissioner. “I live right across the street from this property,” said Laurel Street resident Debby Pigman. “And although I will not be very distressed to see the buildings disappear, I am very distressed that a lot of my friends in the area were forced to move.”

The loss, she said, is not just personal — it’s a loss to the entire neighborhood.

St. Charles Avenue apartment developers to add more trees and green space

The corner of St. Charles and Louisiana is getting a little greener. 

On Wednesday (Aug. 17), the Historic District Landmark Commission’s Architectural Review Committee approved updated designs for the planned 115-unit residential and retail development at 3401 St. Charles. The new designs take into consideration the committee’s previous recommendation to add green space by incorporating more trees and two public courtyards along Louisiana Avenue. 

“We’re seeing this now as a great opportunity to not only increase the quantity and quality of public space, but to improve on the previous design,” said Ken Gowland of MetroStudio Architects in his presentation to the committee. 

This was the fourth meeting about 3401 St.

Tipitina’s to open coffee shop and bar with live music next door on Tchoupitoulas

Legendary local music venue Tipitina’s plans to expand by opening up a coffee shop next door that will also serve as a bar and live entertainment venue at night. 

The City Planning Commission approved the plans in a unanimous vote on Tuesday (July 27), with the provision that all music must be indoors with windows and doors closed. The coffee shop will be on 4331 Tchoupitoulas St., in a building previously used as a commercial short-term rental space known as Tchoup House. The venue has a rear patio and upstairs deck. 

In comparison to the bopping music club next door, the new entertainment venue will be low-key, focusing more on piano and acoustic performances. 

“The live music that we are envisioning would be akin to a piano bar: small scale, a piano man, or perhaps a jazz or funk trio,” according to a project description the club submitted. “An intimate vibe, nowhere on the level of size or production that the artists who play inside Tipitina’s require.” This expansion represents a hopeful new chapter for Tipitina’s, which like all music venues has struggled mightily to survive the pandemic.

Group working to add B.W. Cooper buildings to Broad Street Cultural District

Broad Community Connections is proposing to include the B.W. Cooper public housing site in the South Broad Street Cultural District. 

Three original buildings are left of the original Calliope Projects, renamed for B.W. Cooper in 1981. After Hurricane Katrina, the development was shuttered. Most of it was demolished and replaced with Marrero Commons, a mixed-income townhouse-style development. Broad Community Connections, a nonprofit that works with small businesses to redevelop the Broad Street corridor, said about two-thirds of the Marrero Commons complex sits within the proposed expansion area. The proposal would expand the South Broad Street Cultural District to include the land bordered by Earhart Boulevard, South Dorgenois Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and South Galvez Street. 

The Cultural Districts Program was created by the Louisiana legislature in 2007 to revitalize and preserve cultural hubs within the state.

Viewpoint: If not the Municipal Auditorium, what could become the next City Hall?

While Mayor LaToya Cantrell told members of the Save Our Soul (SOS) coalition Tuesday that she was “good” with the Municipal Auditorium not becoming the next City Hall, the historic structure remains her first choice probably because of the $38 million allocation from FEMA that comes with it. 

Cantrell has given SOS a 90-day deadline to come up with a solid, fully funded plan to renovate, operate and maintain the auditorium. In the event that SOS successfully meets that goal, city officials might want to start looking at other suitable ›locations across New Orleans. If the prevailing sentiment is to stay in the downtown area, the Plaza Tower could be ripe for the picking. The 485,000-square-foot building features 45 floors, 13 elevators and its own parking garage. There’s even a separate parking lot for sale directly behind the building.

Development on former Rite Aid site on St. Charles wins appeal over zoning

By Sharon Lurye

Developers working on the new apartment complex at 3401 St. Charles Ave. won another victory at the Board of Zoning Adjustments meeting on Monday, as board officers unanimously agreed that the project qualifies for a density bonus that allows it to fit more units per square foot. The complex, planned for the site where a Rite Aid store has been left vacant for several years, will consist of an apartment building on St. Charles and Louisiana and townhouse-style apartments on the other side of the lot at Delachaise and Carondelet streets.

University area neighbors taking another look at parking restrictions after Planning Commission vote

The City Planning Commission on Tuesday (July 13) gave a thumbs-down to continuing and expanding an off-street parking mandate in the University area aimed at stemming the tide of “doubles to dorms” conversions. The commissioners backed the city planners, who recommended denying the proposal, calling it “inappropriate, regressive and harmful.”

The concerns voiced by commissioners, the City Planning staff and advocacy groups have sent the proposal’s proponents, District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso and a host of neighborhood associations, back to the drawing board for further tweaks. The measure would establish a zoning district, the University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay District, where developers are required to create an off-street parking space for each increase in the number of bedrooms.

The City Council will next vote on the proposal. In September, the council approved an Interim Zoning District with an off-street parking requirement despite the Planning Commission’s recommendation for denial. That IZD is set to expire in two months.

Carrollton Courthouse developer fined for razing schoolhouse building

 

The demolition of a former classroom building next to the Carrollton Courthouse cost the developers the highest possible fine levied by the Historic District Landmark Commission, a fine the commissioners bemoaned as not high enough. The wood-frame building, deemed historic by the HDLC, was torn down in May to make room for the an addition to the Greek Revival landmark building, which is being converted to an assisted living and memory-care residence. The 1,400-square-foot school building dates to the 19th century, the HDLC has determined. The Carrollton Courthouse only briefly operated as a courthouse for the town of Carrollton when it was the seat of Jefferson Parish, according to a history of the building by the HDLC. It was converted to a school, then McDonogh 23, after the area was annexed to New Orleans in 1874.

Pickleball, ‘the fastest growing sport you’ve never heard of,’ planned for vacant warehouse space in Lower Garden District

Pickleball may be coming to former warehouse in the Lower Garden District. The City Planning Commission last week voted to approve plans for the sports facility. 

Pickleball is a paddle sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and was created as a family activity, according to USA Pickleball. NBC News has called it “the fastest growing sport you’ve never heard of.” 

The 21,000-square-foot former warehouse space on 460-462 Josephine Street and 2120 Rousseau Street, near the Walmart, will be remodeled to create five indoor pickleball courts and one outdoor court. Approximately 10,000 square feet would be added to include a second floor with a restaurant and bar. Plans show 24 off-street parking spaces. 

The former warehouse space is on track to become the first dedicated pickleball facility in New Orleans, according to developer Renee Melchiode.

Plans approved for five-story development on former Rite Aid site on St. Charles

The Board of Zoning Adjustments approved plans Monday for a primarily residential mixed-use redevelopment of the former Rite Aid property at at 3401 St. Charles Avenue. The developer asked for variances to build up to 65 feet and five stories, while zoning allows for only 40 feet and three stories. Although BZA staff members recommended that the board deny the developer’s request, the board voted 5-0 to allow a building of that height as long as the development followed eight provisions laid out in the staff report, plus another requirement that the development cannot be larger than 220,000 square feet. 

Historically, the site used to hold the Ghisalberti Flats, built in 1905, which was 75 feet high. The apartment building was demolished in the 1950s, according to the Preservation Resource Center, and the Ghisalberti corner became the site of a K&B drugstore, bought out by Rite Aid in 1997.