NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans' third-tallest building, which has sat unused for a dozen years, has been sold.
Our partners at New Orleans CityBusiness report that Bryan Burns, one of the owners of the 45-story Plaza Tower, confirmed Thursday's sale, which comes nearly three years after they bought the building at auction for $650,000.
Burns, a partner in JSW Plaza Tower LLC, said the 1960s-era skyscraper has changed hands for an undisclosed amount. He would not disclose the new owners of the property, which has been vacant since 2002 after toxic mold and asbestos were discovered in the building.
Several attempts have been made to revitalize the property. When the building was purchased in 2011, Burns and his partners planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use facility that would house apartments, office space and retail shops.
In 2013, the group had secured a conditional use permit to reopen the eight-story garage to the public, but Burns said the owners decided not to move forward with the proposal and instead redevelop the building all at once.
"Once we decided to proceed with the pre-development work, it didn't make sense to us to open the garage under (a) conditional use permit," Burns said.
Burns did not say how much pre-development work his group had done to the building, which had been completely stripped down to its shell following a $12 million mold and asbestos remediation project in 2008 by mortgage lending company Plainfield Direct of Greenwich, Connecticut.
Prior to the 2011 auction sale, the building had been on the market for $15.5 million.
When asked why JSW Plaza Tower elected to sell the property, Burns said it has met the group's investment objectives, and added that he is confident the new owners can revitalize the building.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this building is imminently qualified for redevelopment," Burns said. "This building will ultimately be one of the finest multi-family driven buildings in the city."
Burns said the building's extreme height and location on Howard Avenue - outside of the main stretch of CBD high-rises and near a flurry of new development - makes it a prime redevelopment prospect.
"The unobstructed views are among the best in the entire city," Burns said.
Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com