Coliseum Square Association rethinks support for bed-and-breakfast on Constance

Amid concerns that a bed-and-breakfast proposed for a historic Constance Street mansion would have too great an impact on its neighbors, the Coliseum Square Association decided Monday night to back off its previous support for the project and remain neutral on the issue while surveying members to get a broader opinion. Citing the need for additional income to help with ongoing renovations of the 1852 house built by noted New Orleans architect Henry Howard, homeowner Matt Ryan has proposed operating a bed-and-breakfast in several rooms inside the house. He originally conceived of four rooms — two in the house itself, and two in a side cottage that faces Euterpe — but has recently decided to make the side cottage a standard long-term rental after discovering city ordinances that place additional regulatory burdens on bed-and-breakfasts with more than two rooms, he said Monday. The Coliseum Square Association enthusiastically endorsed Ryan’s idea in an April meeting but decided to revisit the issue Monday night after a handful of neighbors voiced strong opinions against the project. Ryan gave the association board a petition of most of his immediate neighbors supporting the project, and several attended the meeting to speak on its behalf.

Freret corner store, film studio on Constance both win council approval

A Freret corner store’s request for permission to sell alcohol and a proposal to allow conversion of a Lower Garden District warehouse into a film studio — two ideas that had drawn wary interest from their respective neighborhood groups — were both approved this week by the City Council. After finding strong opposition from some neighbors at earlier stages in the process, Supermercado Las Acacias on Freret Street appeared before the City Council on Thursday with the news that it had come to terms with the Freret Business and Property Owners Assocation and Neighbors United by way of a good-neighbor agreement. “We are all in consensus with the two neighborhood groups, however, the documents have not been executed,” said Morris Reed, an attorney representing building owner Cai Le. “They will be executed at a later date, probably Monday or Tuesday before the end of business.” Under the terms set by the City Council, Las Acacias will be able to sell alcohol as long as it is packaged for off-premises consumption.

Proposed Lower Garden District film studio ekes out planning commission approval

A new film studio proposed for an old warehouse complex in the Lower Garden District won an important step in the process of city approval Tuesday, over the concerns of several planning commissioners who worried that the site could one day be home to heavy industry. Sam Farnet, owner of Joey K’s restaurant on Magazine Street, is seeking mixed-use zoning for a warehouse complex at the corner of Constance and Orange streets that he says he hopes to transform into a film-production facility, though he has not yet finalized negotiations with a tenant. The surrounding neighborhood group, the Coliseum Square Association, said in March that they trust Farnet as a developer, but are concerned that if his project falls through, a less-desirable project allowed by the mixed-use zoning may open in its stead, such as, they noted, a chicken slaughterhouse. The planning commission had postponed a decision on the question for a month in order to give Farnet and the neighborhood more time to reach a compromise. Farnet said later that he had met with the association’s president a day before Tuesday’s planning meeting, and that they decided to seek another extension on the decision, but were told the project deadline was looming and had to be handled at Tuesday’s meeting.

New bed-and-breakfast proposed in antebellum Lower Garden District house

An antebellum mansion on Constance Street could become the Lower Garden District’s latest bed and breakfast after the neighborhood association gave the owner its blessing Monday night. Homeowner Matt Ryan told the Coliseum Square Association that he spent about four years renovating the historic house at 1431 Constance, which was built in 1852 by noted New Orleans architect Henry Howard. Ryan has given previous consideration to operating bed-and-breakfasts in the past, and Ryan said he has decided that the income it would bring would help him defray the expenses of the renovation and the upkeep. “If taxes go up or insurance goes up, we’re going to be in really bad shape,” Ryan said. Ryan said he would live on the house’s third floor, leaving room for two suites downstairs and two in a small side cottage.

New gourmet burger restaurant in Lower Garden District, alcohol sales at Freret corner store approved

Both a long-stalled gourmet burger restaurant planned for the corner of Jackson Avenue and Magazine Street and a Freret Street corner store’s request begin selling alcohol received initial approval from the City Planning Commission today, but a decision on a proposed film-studio space on Constance Street was deferred for a month. (Note: See the end of this article for a recap of our live coverage of the debate on each issue.)

Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar is a proposed two-story hamburger restaurant with diner-style counter service on the ground floor and full table service upstairs designed by the owners of Somethin’ Else cafe in the French Quarter, said architect Kimberly Finney. The project was originally proposed several years ago, but troubles with the contractor stalled the project until its permission from the city to build expired. Charcoal’s requires a conditional use to build on the Magazine Street site because its two-story floor plan is larger than the 5,000 square feet normally allowed by its zoning. It has six on-site parking spaces, and will also require a waiver for the other 10 spaces that its size would technically require.

Late-night armed robbery reported on Freret Street; shooting in Carrollton

An armed robbery in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day was reported on Freret Street near Jefferson Avenue and a man was grazed by a bullet in Carrollton over the weekend, police said Tuesday. The robbery victims were walking in the 5300 block of Freret around 1 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, when they were approached by two men with a silver handgun who demanded their belongings, according to a news release from the New Orleans Police Department. The victims gave the robbers what they wanted, and the robbers then left, and the victims called police the next day, the release states. Anyone with information on the robbery is urged to call Detective Jerry Baldwin at 658-6020.

Man robbed, shot in chest on Constance Street

A man getting into his vehicle to go to work was robbed, then shot in the chest at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said. The victim’s condition was described as stable, but no arrest has been made.As the victim got into his vehicle on the 3100 block of Constance Street on Tuesday morning, someone walked up behind him, placed something in his back and ordered him to empty his pockets, according to a New Orleans Police Department email alert. After the victim began to turn around, the robber shot him in the chest, then fired his gun two more times. As he left the area, he dropped the handgun nearby, police said. The victim was taken to an area hospital.