Plans for demolition of buildings by Hard Rock site postponed

Plans for demolition of buildings by Hard Rock site postponed

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The city approved a request by Hard Rock developers to delay demolition plans of neighboring buildings to the Hard Rock site.

The Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the Hard Rock developers' request to delay demolition of the buildings next to the Hard Rock site.

"We are in a very fluid situation, where we face challenges and changes on a nearly daily basis," Kailey LeBoeuf, a representative for 1031 Canal Development LLC said.

Developers asked for the delay due to changes in the Hard Rock demolition plan and timeline.

"Until this settles down, which we expect to happen in the very near future, there may be revisions to our plan moving forward," LeBoeuf said.

Preservationists agreed with the postponement, demanding evidence from developers for the need to take down 1019, 1025 and 1027 Canal Street, as well as 1022 Iberville.

"They have to prove this. We have no trust factor in this company at this point, dating back to several years. The fact that they own the surrounding properties or have connections to the surrounding properties raises some doubts with us," Louisiana Landmarks Society President Sandra Stokes said.

Opposers of the demolition of surrounding buildings called for an independent third party analyisis.

"This has all got to be supported by hard data from engineers and contractors, and needs to be reviewed by as you heard here today, independent people who can verify whether it's really necessary or is there another methodology?" New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said.

Historians say if the demolition permit is approved, a big part of historical fabric would be lost.

"We've lost the history of two very significant theaters and the history with the musicians who played there, and we've also lost history of a very prominent music publishing company," Lafayette Square Association President, Jack Stewart said.

Preservationists say it's too early to know whether additional demolition is necessary.

"There's just a lot of elements at play. and if the city and the applicants and engineers haven't decided on the best way to actually move forward with actually removing the Hard Rock site, then moving forward with adjacent demolitions is obviously premature," Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents, and Associates Executive Director, Erin Holmes said.

"I think there will be a lot of pressure on the owners of these properties, 1031 Canal, to provide that really independent engineers analysis that these demolitions are absolutely necessary before moving ahead," Nathan Lott, Preservation Resource Center Policy Research Director & Advocacy Coordinator said.

Councilmember Kristin Palmer said she's raised concerns about why historic buildings around the site need to be demolished, and asks developers to to provide a clear plan on why it should happen.

HDLC agreed to take up the topic again during next month’s meeting.

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