Renovation renaissance sweeps across Orleans CBD - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Renovation renaissance sweeps across Orleans CBD

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New Orleans, La. -

NEW ORLEANS - It's being called one of the biggest downtown apartment booms in the last 50 years, and there's no end in sight.

Three major projects - all involving historic restorations - are under way, and the demand doesn't seem to be slowing down.

In downtown New Orleans, architectural jewels that have tarnished over the years are being polished up for new tenants.

The projects, such as the old Factor's Row building off Poydras, are historically significant. In this building, the artist Edgar Degas painted his famed Cotton Merchants of New Orleans in 1873, and its old brick and thick timbers make it prime for historic renovation.

"The downtown residential market has been growing every year, and they've all been successful with big rents," said architect Peter Trapolin.

Rents can be as high as $3,000 a month for 1,000 square feet in some cases, in prime historic properties with 12-foot ceilings, the convenience of downtown, and close proximity to streetcars. They're being built with the help of huge tax breaks.

"There's a 25 percent state credit, and a 20 percent federal credit," said Trapolin.

At 234 Loyola, Green Coast Enterprises and the Crescent City Community Land Trust have torn off the old, green 50s façade, revealing the 1909 façade of a building that once housed the Knights of Pythias, a Civil War-era, African-American organization. It later served as corporate headquarters for Andrew Higgins, the World War II boat builder.

"There are 80 units that will be mixed income that they want to have occupied by early 2016," said Greg Larose, editor of FOX 8 partner City Business.

Mixed-income construction provides for even bigger tax breaks, all designed to rebuild America's downtowns. 

Also in the works are 18 luxury apartments at the Triangle Building on Howard Avenue. They are all restorations, which are achieving their goal of reversing suburban sprawl.

All of the projects are expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of next year.

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