New Orleans CityBusiness – The first projects that are part of South Market District, a $200 million residential and retail development that broke ground last June, are taking shape. The entire project is slated for completion by the end of 2017.
The Domain Cos. is transforming a five-block site in downtown New Orleans that was mostly surface parking lots. It lies within the boundaries of Girod, Rampart and Lafayette streets and O’Keefe Avenue.
South Market District will include 700 new luxury apartments, 170,000 square feet of retail space and 1,300 garage parking spaces.
“This area is ideal for a 24/7, live-and-work community given the proximity to public transport, employment and entertainment,” said Matt Schwartz, a principal with The Domain Cos. “These recent investments will help the area continue to flourish, attracting more residents, services and destination retail.”
Woodward Design+Build is the general contractor for the project that Eskew+Dumez+Ripple designed along with Humphreys & Partners Architects and Terremark Partners.
To finance South Market District, The Domain Cos. struck a 12-year payment in lieu of taxes plan approved with the Industrial Development Board. The project is also benefiting from the Louisiana Enterprise Zone program for mixed-use, transit-oriented developments. The job creation incentive provides developers with income tax breaks.
The first phase of the project, set for completion in October, includes The Paramount, The Park and infrastructure improvements along Girod from O’Keefe to Loyola Avenue. The two buildings will include 209 apartments, 40,000 square feet of retail space, 440 garage spaces and a public plaza.
Arhaus, based in Cleveland, Ohio, will occupy a 15,500-square-foot space in The Park. The building will also feature a 10,000-square-foot CVS Pharmacy and a 1,500-square-foot location for local pet grooming and supply store Fetch.
The first floor of each building will feature large retail storefronts with 20-foot ceiling heights.
“The Paramount features modern architecture that draws inspiration from historic commercial structures throughout the Warehouse District,” Schwartz said. “For The Park, the challenge was to design a garage that was architecturally significant without using a faux façade. The result is an attractive modern structure that compliments the surrounding architecture.”
The financing package for The Park building includes a $16 million construction loan from First NBC Bank and more than $2 million in New Markets Tax Credits.
Following Phase 1, the next building to go up will be The Beacon, which will include 114 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail. It will be built on the half of a parking lot fronting Girod Street. Construction will start in August and is expected to finish by the end of 2015.
Schwartz said development will then begin on the lots facing Julia Street, roughly a year after construction starts on The Beacon.
Schwartz said Girod Street is the central focal point of South Market District, running from Loyola to Baronne Street.
“Girod will be transformed into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare with a diverse mix of shops and outdoor cafés.” Launching South Market has involved coordination among community members and the city and state, Schwartz said. He credited the Lafayette Square Neighborhood Association, Downtown Development District and NOLA Business Alliance with helping advance the project.
The Downtown Development District will use $300,000 in capital outlay funds and $40,000 from the Delta Regional Authority to pat for street work. The Domain Cos. was granted $500,000 from the Louisiana Office of Community Development for the Girod Street work.
“We worked with the community, city and state to reconfigure the street, widening the sidewalks from approximately seven feet to 20 feet wide,” Schwartz said.
SOUTH MARKET DISTRICT
Project cost: $200 million
Project description: 700 apartments, 170,000 square feet of retail space; 1,300 garage parking spaces.
Project start date: June 2013
Expected completion: December 2017
Peak construction employment: Approximately 350-400 at the peak of the first phase.
Project manager: The Domain Cos.
General contractor: Woodward Design+Build
Subcontractors: Pontchartrain Mechanical, Northside Electric, Tindall Corp.
By: Tommy Santora