The Domain Cos Commences Work On Its $200 Million South Market District Development in New Orleans

The Domain Companies has secured financing for and commenced construction of The South Market District, a mixed-use transit-oriented development in Downtown New Orleans. The Paramount at South Market is the District’s first building to commence and will feature 209 first-class apartments and 22,000sf of retail space.

South Market District will combine luxury apartments with retail, restaurants and entertainment venues in the heart of New Orleans’ historic downtown core. The District encompasses a four-block area that runs along both sides of Girod Street, from Loyola Avenue to Baronne Street. The District is located adjacent to the Union Passenger Terminal and the recently completed Loyola Avenue streetcar line. Located across Loyola from the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, the site connects the Central Business District, historic Warehouse/Arts District and the Sports Entertainment District. Featuring modern architecture that compliments its historic surroundings while maximizing ‘green’ and sustainable design, The District will ultimately include over 600 new luxury apartments and 170,000 square feet of retail space.

“The Loyola Ave. corridor downtown is undergoing a complete transformation and South Market District will play a critical role,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “In the last two years, we have welcomed the Hyatt Regency, Rouses Market, the Loyola Ave. streetcar to the area, and now with the addition of South Market District, this neighborhood will truly be a premier place to live, work and shop and a spectacular gateway to the sports and entertainment district. This project is another example of a strong public-private partnership that will deliver new jobs, new tax revenue, new development and new energy in downtown New Orleans.”

The Paramount will occupy the full city block bounded by Girod Street, S. Rampart Street, Lafayette Street and O’Keefe Street. Designed by Humphreys & Partners Architects and Studio 9 Architects, the five-story building will achieve Silver LEED for Homes certification and features a design based upon a modern interpretation of the architectural influences of the Warehouse District. The ground floor will feature retail storefronts along Girod, O’Keefe and a portion of Lafayette and S. Rampart. Retail spaces will feature 19ft ceilings throughout. The apartments will feature a variety of unique one- and two-bedroom floor plans and will include innovative “live/work” loft units along Lafayette and S. Rampart. “South Market will create the type of mixed-use district, with high-quality housing proximate to employment, public transportation, amenities and services, that is needed to support the growth and diversification of New Orleans’ economy. The retail, apartments and overall planning of the District is unlike anything that exists Downtown today” said Matt Schwartz, Principal of The Domain Companies.

Total development cost for The Paramount is $48.4 million. Oak Grove Capital provided a $38.3 million loan insured through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 220 Program. “This project was a perfect example of providing Housing and Urban Development,” said Timothy Leonhard, Managing Director at Oak Grove Capital. “HUD clearly recognized the need for housing in the area and also realized that this project would be the catalyst for the subsequent phases of the South Market District. We are very pleased to have provided this financing for a valued repeat customer.”

Iberia Bank provided $3.2 million in Letters of Credit to collateralize certain HUD requirements. Iberia had previously provided the financing for site acquisition throughout the entire District. Equity for the project was provided by Woodward Interests, an affiliate of Woodward Design+Build, the project’s general contractor, and by The Domain Companies. The Industrial Development Board of the City of New Orleans, working with the New Orleans Business Alliance, provided a creative 12-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes arrangement to help facilitate the project. The project will also benefit from state legislation passed to enable mixed-use Transit-Oriented Developments to participate in the LA Enterprise Zone program. “We are tremendously excited to support such a catalytic project for Downtown New Orleans”, says Rodrick Miller, President and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA). “South Market District is a true representation of the sort of retail and real estate investments we need in order to continue to prosper as a city. NOLABA is proud to have worked with the Downtown Development District, the Industrial Development Board and others to help bring this project to fruition.”

The project is designed to position Girod as the focal point of the district and transform the street into a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented, shopping and entertainment district. Retailers will include a mix of entertainment-based or destination anchors including home furnishings & décor, apparel & accessories, specialty and service retailers and restaurants and cafes with sidewalk seating. To accomplish this, Domain worked with City and State Agencies to secure approvals to close a traffic lane on Girod and widen the sidewalks from approximately seven to approximately twenty feet wide. In addition, Domain worked with neighboring communities to permit sidewalk cafes in the area provide for expanded operating hours throughout the District. “The South Market project is a major milestone for Downtown New Orleans,” said Kurt Wiegel, President and CEO of the Downtown Developement District. “South Market at completion will create essentially a new

Downtown neighborhood, so it was vitally important that we get the planning & place-making right. The DDD’s goal was to create a modern neighborhood with the human scale, walkability & charm that make New Orleans one the world’s great cities. Domain has done just that.

DDD market research has documented exactly what the workforce in key Downtown industries like Creative Digital Media and BioInnovation & Health Services desire in their living-working environment, and South Market hits the mark — especially in its lively, generously proportioned public realm. The DDD is honored to have worked with Domain, neighborhood advocates including Lafayette Square Association, the Mayor’s office, Councilmembers Head & Cantrell, and the City Planning Commission to bring this project to fruition.”

The Paramount will be positioned as the premier residential rental property in New Orleans, designed to appeal to the workforce participating in the region’s rapidly expanding knowledge-based economy. The building includes hospitality style amenities including a large interior courtyard that will feature a “resort-style” pool, extensive seating areas and furnishings, attractive landscaping, outdoor kitchen and a unique covered indoor/outdoor lounge. The first floor also includes a club area including a grand lobby, concierge desk and reception area, clubroom with cyber café, media area and entertaining area. Also included is a large fully-equipped fitness center that will feature the latest in equipment and technology. Floor plans have been carefully designed and feature 9 foot ceiling heights. Refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer and dryers will be Energy Star rated. Kitchens will have a stainless steel appliances, custom painted flat panel cabinets, quartz countertops and sleek modern fixtures. Bathrooms will feature ceramic tile floors, oversized subway tile showers, stained hardwood vanities, Corian countertops and clean modern fixtures.

The Paramount will benefit from Domain’s one-of-a-kind MyDomain suite of resident services. MyDomain includes a social media-based resident platform and exclusive online community for residents, online rent-payment and maintenance requests, 24-hour service guarantee, full schedule of resident activities, MyDomain Discount Cards, the MyDomain Rewards Program and more.

Financial closing and commencement of the Girod Street infrastructure work is anticipated for August. Domain will commence work on a second building this fall, located on the Girod and O’Keefe corner. The $20 million project will include an additional 25,000sf of retail space and 435 garage parking spaces. Construction on the remaining two sites, located between Girod, O’Keefe, Julia and Loyola, will include a mix of residential and retail and will commence in 2014 and 2015. Domain will begin announcing retailer participants in the first phase in late summer.