New York investors buy the Whole Foods building on Magazine

A New York investment group has purchased Arabella Station, the home of Whole Foods Market on Magazine Street, for $31.4 million, property records show. Whole Foods has a long-term lease on the former bus barn and is expected to remain. The property that takes up the entire block at 5600 Magazine St. was purchased by DK WFNO, a limited liability company operated by Debra Kalimian. Kalimian runs D&R Holding and A&R Kalimian Realty out of offices in Manhattan, records show.

Join us for our Archives Month showcase, hosted by Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court (sponsored)

The Honorable Chelsey Richard Napoleon is excited to announce this year’s Archives Month showcase! Email your interest in experiencing this new showcase: civilclerkresearchctr@orleanscdc.com
The Notarial Archives Research Center is located in our Land Records Division. These documents, which date back to the 1700s, represent the rich history of New Orleans. The archives can be used for property, genealogical, architectural and landscaping research, among other subjects. The Land Records Division is where documents regarding property are recorded.

Rep. Freeman and fire marshal host meeting tonight to discuss doubles-to-dorms (sponsored)

Representative Aimee Adatto Freeman’s office is hosting a meeting with State Fire Marshal Daniel Wallis to discuss Doubles to Dorms and other neighborhood issues related to fire code adherence. Please join tonight, September 15, from 5:30-7:30 PM
Faith Baptist Church, 2318 Fern St. Refreshments will be provided. For more information and how you can show your support, please visit www.voteaimee.com.

Fine Arts Theater stages a comeback on Baronne Street corridor

A revival is taking place at a century-old movie house in the Milan neighborhood. 
When it began life in 1917, the Fine Arts Theater at Constantinople and Baronne streets anchored a small but thriving neighborhood business corridor. 
That was still true in 1946, when Dave Martin opened Martin Wine Cellar a block away. Nearby residents were within walking distance of nearly everything a family might need. There was a pharmacy, barber shop, laundry, tailor, meat market, grocery store and bakery — plus the neighborhood movie theater. Now the Fine Arts Theater building, a city landmark fresh off of a nearly $2 million redevelopment, holds the promise of revitalizing the small business district. 
Zee’s Pizzeria has moved into the Fine Arts building’s row of commercial spaces on Baronne. Beth Biundo Sweets, a bakery, is across the street, and Lucy Boone Ice Cream plans to open a shop next to Zee’s in the Fine Arts. And, of course, Martin Wine & Spirits continues to offer a deli as well as packaged adult beverages.

Convention center board signs on to massive River District development plans

From the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Board 

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Board moved to adopt a master development agreement with its development partner, River District Neighborhood Investors. At its August meeting, the board voted to approve terms for a mixed-use development of 39-acres of land adjacent to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Advancing a partnership many months in the making, the board action grants the River District group the permission to proceed with developing plans that will fulfill the Authority’s vision to create new experiences for residents and visitors alike. Of key importance to the agreement moving forward: the developers have made a hard commitment to a total of 900 mixed-income housing units, of which 450 will be affordable and workplace housing units. According to experts, this agreement provides a model for diversity and equity that may serve as a national model for public-private partnerships of this nature.

Join us for our Archives Month showcase, hosted by Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court (sponsored)

The Honorable Chelsey Richard Napoleon is excited to announce this year’s Archives Month showcase! The Notarial Archives Research Center is located in our Land Records Division. These documents, which date back to the 1700s, represent the rich history of New Orleans. The archives can be used for property, genealogical, architectural and landscaping research, among other subjects. The Land Records Division is where documents regarding property are recorded.

Complaints against ‘nightmare’ landlord keep piling up

New Orleans renter Jessica Spraggins had a hard time sleeping in her family’s three-bedroom, $2,600-a-month apartment after her bedroom ceiling partially collapsed. 

“When the city gets rain, so does our bedroom,” Spraggins said. 

The hole hadn’t always been there, she said, but rain leaking from the roof caused the collapse on May 31. Spraggins messaged her landlord, Laura Russell, that very day. Russell responded that she would send someone to look at the damage, according to screenshots of their text communications. Nobody ever came, Spraggins said. 

What did come was an eviction notice. Russell began eviction proceedings June 16 to remove the family from Apartment B at 7800 St.

Entrepreneur battles neighbors to open Daiquiri World restaurant

An old Church’s Chicken building on Louisiana Avenue has turned into a battleground for a neighborhood association and a fledgling entrepreneur who is renovating it into a full-service restaurant with alcohol sales. The Delachaise Neighborhood Association filed an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustments to stop work on the building two blocks from St. Charles Avenue. It alleges that the planned Daiquiri World will be a bar disguised as a restaurant and that the layout resembles a fast-food operation. The BZA staff recommended denying the appeal, stating that the plans show a standard restaurant. But the BZA board said those plans are incomplete and are not stamped by a licensed architect.

Affordable housing, child-care center proposed for blighted firehouse

A blighted firehouse on Louisiana Avenue could be transformed into affordable housing and an early childhood center, if plans submitted to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority are granted final approval. The proposal was presented Wednesday evening (July 27) at a public Zoom meeting to inform the community about ongoing plans for renovating and repurposing the disused firehouse at 2314 Louisiana Ave. 

Mid-July marked the close of NORA’s solicitation for the development proposal period, and the organizations Home by Hand and Alembic Community Development presented their joint plans for the site. Their proposal would see the old firehouse renovated to become an early childhood education center on the ground floor and seven affordable rental units on the two floors above. “One of the requirements of the program is that any development that arises from the [NORA-run] program must create either affordable housing units or economic development opportunities in the form of jobs,” said NORA project manager Kyle Gilmore. 

The city is leasing the property to NORA for a 99-year term; NORA will then sublease it to a development partner that administers the overall process of putting the building back into use. According to NORA, an award for the sub-lease will be granted Aug.

Zimpel Street cottage sets off battle between developers and neighbors

The City Council on Thursday (July 21) handed Carrollton area neighbors a victory by overturning the Historic District Landmarks Commission’s approval of plans to partially demolish a house near Tulane University. The approval would have allowed developers Preston Tedesco and Sidney “Sam” Torres V to add a second story to a 1,359-square-foot single-family home they purchased on Zimpel Street. The plans they filed with the city show two units with a “doubles-to-dorms” layout. On June 1, the HDLC voted 8-2 to allow the entire roof and 65% of the facade to be demolished so the second floor could be added. The HDLC staff found that the modest mid-century building, rated as “non-contributing,” had nothing to distinguish it.