By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
New Orleans is reaching for new residential heights. Or at least some of its developers are–like Sean Cummings. The notorious Crescent City developer recently presented plans for a 74-foot-tall apartment building before the New Orleans City Planning Commission and received approval to bring his plans before the city council, reported The Times-Picayune.
Cummings’ project, dubbed Elisio Lofts, entails developing a 73-unit luxury apartment complex along an entire block at Elysian Fields and Decateur Street in Fabourg Marigny. The design of the apartment complex would be quite inventive, as it would be broken into three separate pieces, mixing old and new and keeping in line with the eclectic character of the neighborhood. More to the point, one of the buildings would be a revamped two-story historic warehouse, flanked on both sides by modern structures: one 48 feet tall, the other 74 feet. The apartment units will quite likely be converted into condos in a few years’ time. The project also includes three ground-floor commercial spaces, including a restaurant and a retail shop. Seventy-four covered parking spaces would complete the project.
There is controversy surrounding the project, stemming from the 74-foot height of one of the buildings, as until recently the neighborhood had a strict 50-foot height limit for all developments. The law in question became more lax following the 2006-approved Riverfront Vision plan, which called for occasional special 25-foot bonuses in height for new structures being built on the riverfront end of major streets in the neighborhood. A further issue is the number of parking spaces, as the law would require 159 off-street spaces for a development like Elisio Lofts, especially since patrons of the planned restaurant would also require parking services. Furthermore, some Marigny residents fear the project would set a dangerous precedent that would allow other developers to build even taller structures.
However, according to The Times-Picayune, the City Planning Commission sent the plans forward to the city council, recommending them with an 8-0 vote but specifying that not all points of the project are endorsed. Furthermore, the commission noted that it would not be endorsing any developments taller than 75 feet.
Area real estate executives hope the new development will attract new residents, affluence and safety to the neighborhoods, while relaxing prices for existing apartments.
Photo credit: Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons
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