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Updated on Nov. 3, 2022

The development of private student housing in Carrollton

It started in about 2018 and continues today—with long-time homeowners selling their houses and moving away as a result.

Private student housing developers buy properties near the Tulane and Loyola campuses, evict the long-term tenants, and convert the neighborhood’s historic houses into dorm-like residences with “premium services”—marketing the apartments to college students at an enormous profit.

Most of these developers, like John Hamide and Preston Tedesco, will camelback a house, gut the historic interior, and create as many bedrooms as possible. The rent per unit in these “doubles to dormitories” (D2Ds) is about $1,500/month per tenant—normally for four bedrooms, but often for five.

But other developers—like the Heidenbergs (based in Tampa and Washington, D.C.), Deb Singer/Marley Development (Ohio), and Laguna Ventures, LLC (Southern California)—renovate the interior without adding camelbacks—and also without applying for work permits. A large single-family house that once held four or five bedrooms will be rented out as having seven. So the historic character of the exterior of the building is (incidentally) preserved—and the owner is spared the trouble of applying for permits and complying with the zoning ordinance. (Heidenberg Group Rental Properties removed the rental figures from their website in the summer of 2021; Laguna Ventures was recently—on Sept. 17, 2022, advertising a seven-bedroom rental at $10,000/month.)

Yet the high density violates zoning law, because the definition of “family” in the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO, Art. 26.6) allows for only four unrelated persons per unit. This is one of the the most frequent zoning violations for private student housing. Other common violations include paving over front and side yards, and parking in front yards.

Reporting these and other violations to Safety and Permits is potentially an important defense against overdevelopment in our neighborhoods.

We are also concerned with issues of preservation in the partial-control Carrollton Historic District, and support the adoption of full-control districting. See more information about full- versus partial-control districting.

About Town of Carrollton Watch

Town of Carrollton Watch monitors and documents current development trends in the historic Carrollton neighborhood, including:

  • the purchase and conversion of historic houses to private student housing
  • the displacement and eviction of long-term residents to house college students
  • the effects of increasing density
  • the destruction of the architectural integrity of the neighborhood
  • the neighborhood’s response to development (HDLC appeals, BZA appeals, appeals to the Civil District Court, and media interviews), and
  • the ongoing search for a policy solution to the problem of development in Carrollton.

Two IZDs and an Overlay: March 5, 2020 to the present day

The first University Area Off-Street Parking Interim Zoning District (IZD)

Overdevelopment was temporarily addressed by the enactment on March 5, 2020, of the University Area Interim Zoning District (IZD), now expired. An IZD is considered an emergency measure only.

The University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay

On March 25, 2021, the City Council approved Councilman Joe Giarrusso’s Motion M 21-102, sending the proposed University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay to the City Planning Commission for study. The Overlay greatly expands the territory of the University Area IZD, extending it to the boundaries the shown on this map, and contains exemptions (carve-outs) for owner-occupants and affordable housing.

On July 13, the CPC voted to deny a recommendation of the Overlay in its final staff report, which was due at the City Council by July 24. On October 7, the Overlay passed in the City Council. It was enacted in the City Council on November 18, 2021.

The University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay has been codified as CZO Article 18.30. The University Area IZD, enacted on March 5, 2020, terminated with the enactment of the Overlay.

Though the Overlay is called the “permanent version of the IZD,” in fact it is very different. Whereas the University Area IZD required an off-street parking space for any increase in bedrooms, the Overlay requires off-street parking only for new bedrooms in excess of four per unit.

Effectively, then, the Overlay merely reinforces the CZO’s definition of “family” (CZO Article 26.6) as four unrelated persons or fewer, which has heretofore proved unenforceable—and is perhaps unconstitutional. It remains to be seen whether the University Area Overlay will put us back at square one with respect to density and hyperdevelopment.

Another IZD

A second IZD was enacted on Oct. 6, 2022 per Motion M-22-449. The City Council vote was 6-0. (Helena Moreno was absent from the dais at the time.)

The boundaries of the new IZD differ from the Overlay’s. They now encompass parts of Marlyville and Broadmoor—”on all lots bounded by: Cecil Street, a straight line connecting Cecil Street to Monticello Avenue, Monticello Avenue, to Leake Avenue, to River Drive, to Riverview Drive, to East Drive, to Tchoupitoulas Street, turning north on Jefferson Avenue, turning east on South Claiborne Avenue, turning north on Toledano Street, connecting to Washington Avenue, turning east on Earhart Boulevard, turning north on South Carrollton Avenue, turning east on Tulane Avenue/Airline Highway connecting to Palmetto Street, to Northline Street, to Monticello Avenue, to Cecil Street.”

Quick site map

Neighborhood news — announcements of developer purchases and subdivisions, City hearings, calls for public comment, media reports, events, and other news involving the neighborhood.

Local media — compact list of media reports and video.

Report — Find out how to report a violation.

Report log — a partial list of the violations we’ve reported to the City; and other actions.

Properties — For information on individual houses under development as private student dormitories in Carrollton and surrounding neighborhoods, see:

Who we are

Town of Carrollton Watch, LLC, is a non-profit, independent, unaffiliated watchdog organization managed by Carrollton native S. P. Johnson—in consultation with individual neighbors and community groups. News and value-added data on this site are available to all users. Special research requests and violations reporting on behalf of neighbors are also offered at no cost.

Please write me at contact@townofcarrolltonwatch.org.

On Facebook @TownofCarrolltonWatch.

I also monitor demolitions throughout the historic neighborhoods, including the CBD. On Facebook @HistoricNewOrleansNeighborhoods.

Featured photos: Ireland House caretaker’s cottage at 925 Burdette (demolished mid-2020); the Carrollton Courthouse under construction (June 10, 2021).