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.

City Council approves microbrewery and restaurant in Hollygrove

The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the plan last week for the Catalyst Microbrewery and Restaurant to be built on the former site of the Hollygrove Market at 8301 Olive St. Grove Holly LLC plans to construct two buildings to house the new brewery and restaurant. The site — which once had metal sheds, small warehouse structures, fragmented concrete pads and overgrown plants — has been cleared to prepare for construction. 

Following the recommendation of the City Planning Commission, the City Council approval also included the CPC’s 11 provisos that include, to address concerns expressed by neighbors, requirements to provide plans for lighting and noise abatement. “We are excited to be one step closer to the opening of Catalyst,” Grove Holly principals Eric Augustin and Elise Cahn said. They could not yet provide their timeline for completion. 

Hollygrove tract is set to be redeveloped into affordable housing

When Paul Irons and his sister Marseah were growing up, they regularly passed the corner of Monroe Street and Earhart Boulevard a block and a half from their Hollygrove home. “I remember when it was a Church’s Chicken. I remember when it was not a Church’s Chicken,” said Irons, noting that four generations of his family have called Hollygrove home. “And I remember seeing it vacant for a long period of time.”
At last week’s City Council meeting, Irons and Marseah Delatte, managing partners with New Orleans Restoration Properties, saw the council members give unanimous approval to their plan to develop the now-blighted square block — including the cement slab where the Church’s used to be — into affordable housing. The Grove Place complex promises 43 affordable housing units in an area with convenient access to multiple job centers.

City plans to turn McDonogh 7 site into affordable housing

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

A proposal from the Housing Authority of New Orleans to turn the former McDonogh 7 school building into affordable housing drew intense interest from neighbors as more than 50 people attended an online community meeting on Friday (June 18). Representatives from HANO and the architecture firm VergesRome laid out plans for the Uptown site, which currently houses the upper grades of Audubon Charter School. The three-story school building would be turned into 27 affordable housing units for seniors, while the rest of the site would house 12 more units in the form of family duplexes. There would be 41 parking spaces in total, and 20% of the site would be green space. If all goes according to plan, the Housing Authority aims for City Council approval in December or January and would start construction in the fall of 2022 or spring of 2023.

Our Lady of Lourdes church on Napoleon is on the market again

The pews are gone. The baptismal font and religious statues have been removed, and the church bell is no longer in the belfry. Even the stained glass windows are in storage elsewhere. For now, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at 2400 Napoleon Ave. awaits the next chapter in its nearly 100-year history.

Catalyst Microbrewery in Hollygrove clears a hurdle in the approval process

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan for the new Hollygrove neighborhood Catalyst Microbrewery and Restaurant proposed for the former site of the Hollygrove Market at 8301 Olive St. 

The developers plan to construct two buildings on the lot to house a new brewery and restaurant. The site behind the Carrollton Avenue post office now consists of metal sheds, small warehouse structures, fragmented concrete pads and overgrown plants. “We were pleased by the unanimous approval by the CPC for our project, and look forward to moving closer to starting construction,” Eric Augustin, a principal with Grove Holly LLC, told Uptown Messenger after the vote. Grove Holly is the group proposing the development. 

The approval came with provisos, 11 of them. They mostly had to do with submitting detailed plans for parking (cars and bikes), setbacks and trash location. 

In response to concerns expressed by neighbors, plans for lighting and noise abatement also will be required. 

The developers also plan to continue the garden tradition at the site with raised beds.