NEW: February 8, 2022, 1:30 p.m. **Deferred from the Jan. 25 CPC hearing.** The City Planning Commission will make a recommendation about City Council Motion No. M-21-435, proposing a text amendment to the CZO that will allow the development of accessory buildings as living space. (Includes new construction.) This is billed as an effort to “increase housing opportunities citywide”—in garages and other accessory structures. More information, including the link to the preliminary staff report and to meeting and commenting procedures, will be posted here when it is available.
January 5, 2022 The HDLC’s hearing of the application for the demolition of 1925 Fern was deferred until the next meeting on February 2, 2022—so that a City inspector may review Hurricane Ida’s purported damage to the structure on both the interior and exterior of the building. Watch the meeting video from Jan. 5 from timestamp 03:34:38. Submit a public comment about the demolition via email to Eleanor Burke, HDLC Deputy Director, at email@example.com, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.
December 27, 2021 The subdivided sideyard at 1230 Broadway was sold to Frederick C. Kramer by 1230 Broadway Development, LLC, for $317,500. No construction plans have been posted yet. Kramer is a Florida resident who purchased three investment properties in New Orleans in last six months of 2021.
December 23, 2021 The University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay District has been codified in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as Article 18.30. It supersedes the (now expired) University Area IZD. The Overlay territory is greatly expanded; the requirements of the Overlay, however, are far less stringent than those of the IZD. See a map of the Overlay.
December 18, 2021 Riverlake Properties unloads two more properties in Carrollton.
On Dec. 5, Preston Tedesco and John Hamide, dba 700b13, LLC, purchased 1133 Pine (at Oak) for a publicly listed price of $439,700. (Actual purchase price was $1.1M.) Also, 315 W. Clay Flats, LLC, a corporate entity domiciled in Houston, purchased 1000 Lowerline (at Freret) for $799,000 on Dec. 3. Source: Times-Picayune/N.O. Advocate, Orleans Parish property transfers, Dec. 16, 2021. The sales are part of a continuing trend—Riverlake has been selling off its properties in the past year.
December 16, 2021 Ryan Nelsen, “Affordable housing rezoning, quality of life ticketing measures approved by City Council,” WWNO Radio. (Article contains several errors.)
December 16, 2021 Ben Myers, “New Orleans council allows fourplexes amid continued debate over short-term rentals,” Times-Picayune/N.O. Advocate.
December 16, 2021 The City Council unanimously passed CM Palmer’s motion M-21-471, permitting four-plexes in most residential neighborhoods by right—with the suspension of off-street parking and minimum lot area requirements—if developers include one affordable housing unit along with the market-rate units. (The market-rate units may also be operated as short-term rentals—at one STR per dwelling—though an Interim Zoning District prohibiting STRs as proposed by CM Moreno is still possible. ) An affordable housing component is not necessary for four-plexes in the Marigny, Tremé and Bywater, which may be developed as a conditional use. See video here.
December 15, 2021 Ryan Nelsen, “More affordable housing or short-term rentals? Why a rezoning effort is being met with resistance,” WWNO Radio.
December 14, 2021 Tulane’s announcement about Fogelman Hall, a new dormitory, highlights another milestone in its construction of a campus residential complex called The Village, which “represents the most significant capital investment in Tulane’s history.” It’s reported that upon the completion of the project, the university will be able to house all juniors on campus. Whether all juniors will be required to live on campus—thus easing the strain of private student housing development on adjacent neighborhoods—is another question. And see “Tulane University’s Burgeoning Residential Village Receives Major Donation,” Uptown Messenger (Dec. 14).
December 13, 2021 At the Governmental Affairs/Community Development Committee meeting of the City Council, it was determined that ZD 84/21 (the “Four-plex Amendment”) will be considered at the December 16th regular City Council meeting under a so-called substitute motion M-21-471 proposed by CM Palmer. Watch the meeting video. (Timestamp is 00:31:30.)
December 10, 2021 CM Kristin Palmer arranged a Zoom Meeting to address concerns about ZD 84/21, the so-called Four-Plex Amendment. City Planning Commission staff was on hand to answer questions; Palmer herself was not.
November 20, 2021 618 Short Street has been sold for an undisclosed amount to Terry Tedesco Homes, LLC. (Source: T-P/N.O. Advocate.)
November 18, 2021 See the story by Ben Myers, “N.O. City Council backs Uptown parking restrictions aimed at reining in student housing,” Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, November 18, 2021.
November 18, 2021 The University Area Overlay was enacted by the City Council at a regular meeting. The Overlay is meant to stop overdevelopment by bad-actor developers. It succeeds the University Area IZD in an expanded territory while exempting owner-occupants and affordable housing construction. The CZO citation is at Article 18.30.
November 11, 2021 1736 Pine was been flipped by Preston Tedesco and Sidney (Sam) Torres, V, dba S&P Real Estate, LLC, to HMPCO, LLC, for $850,000. Tedesco and Torres bought the house on April 9, 2021, for $399,000. The Certificate of Occupancy was issued on August 19, 2021. The first-floor apartment has been advertised for 4 bedrooms, the new camelback for 3 bedrooms. The construction value was estimated at just $76,000—but Tedesco always underestimates his costs. First time we know of that a D2D has been flipped.
November 7, 2021 The subdivision of 7706 Burthe (corner of Adams) was approved on Oct. 11, 2021. The subdivision creates a 3600 sf lot fronting Burthe—the minimum area for a two-family dwelling. The new address is 7700 Burthe. The lot retains a curb cut on Adams.
The owner is Riverlake Properties, whose office address is still listed on the company website as 826 Adams St., in the rear of the original building at 7706 Burthe. For more information, see the Facebook posts on the subdivision at August 13, 2021 and May 26, 2021.
November 5, 2021 The City Planning Commission has postponed its discussion of the update of the City’s Subdivision Regulations of 1999 until a date TBD in 2022. The issue will be officially deferred at the November 9 CPC meeting. Sources: Preliminary staff report and Nov. 5 email from CPC staff.
November 1, 2021 It was reported in yesterday’s Times-Picayune/N.O. Advocate that the spires of Mater Dolorosa Church on South Carrollton were damaged by Hurricane Ida. See David Grunfeld’s photo.
October 28, 2021 Jacqueline Galli of the Loyola Maroon reports on doubles to dorms from the Loyola campus perspective: “Uptown home expansions impact community.” In August, Loyola published its Fall 2021 stats for first-year admissions—973 new arrivals, a 25% increase over last year’s admissions. Some have noted this number actually represents a recoup, as admissions took a considerable dive some years ago.
October 27, 2021 A new page of links to HDLC materials has been added to the site.
October 15, 2021 Greg LaRose of WDSU appeared on Informed Sources (WYES) last night to talk about doubles to dorms and the new Overlay. Watch the Oct. 14 segment on YouTube here.
October 9, 2021 Reported by Jessica Williams, Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate: New Orleans City Council OK’s rules against ‘doubles-to-dorms’ conversions Uptown.
October 8, 2021 Reported by Greg LaRose, WDSU-TV (see video and accompanying article): New Orleans council makes permanent zoning law change to limit “doubles to dorms” spread.
October 8, 2021 Reported by Katherine Hart, Uptown Messenger: City Council Approves University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay.
October 7, 2021 The City Council voted to approve the University Area Overlay, which will replace the University Area Interim Zoning District (IZD) in an extended territory. Carves out owner-occupants and affordable housing properties. More information.
August 13, 2021 The fresh new townhouse at 917 Burdette (Lot 5A) is now for sale, listed at $1,109,000 by realtor Terrence Davis of Keller-Williams. [Update: the house was sold on Sept. 23.] And keep watching for a listing for 913 Burdette (Lot 4A—where the Certificate of Occupancy was issued on July 29, 2021); 929 Burdette (Lot 8); 933 Burdette (Lot 9); and 937 Burdette (Lot 10). So you can multiply that figure by five.
These houses were developed by Michael Fabre and Chris Roberts, dba Crescent City Developers, on the subdivided grounds of the old Ireland-Maginnis House (1855), which still stands at 925 Burdette, shorn also of its wings and caretaker’s cottage. Fabre and Roberts sold the historic house to developer R. Gibson Lott, dba SUBU.2, LLC, for $725,000 in December 2020. They bought the original property for a song in July 2020—just $1,800,000. They also finagled a waiver of IZD off-street parking requirements for the five lots.
With the Carrollton Courthouse given over to corporate owner Felicity Property Company, and types like Tedesco-Torres, Amicus Properties, the Heidenbergs, and the Singer-Langford team (dba Marley Development) gobbling up residential property for private student housing, the old neighborhood has become a veritable feast for developers. In the absence of real action from the City—it’s time for an Enforcer.
August 6, 2021 A demolition permit was issued for the single-family home at 1441 State Street, purchased in late July 2021 by Butler Brown Development, dba Bb1441, LLC, for $1.5 million. At the Aug. 4 HDLC meeting, representative Scott Powell of Public Properties, LLC, stated: “We have plans for one house here”—in answer to Chairman Jesse LeBlanc’s blunt question about whether Butler Brown would subdivide the 10,980-sf lot post-demolition.
The house was designed by architect George J. Riehl. States-Item columnist Tommy Griffin mentioned it in brief in June 1962 (.pdf). See also Martha Ann Samuel, “A Planned Paradox,” Times-Picayune, May 10, 1964, Dixie Roto, pages 16-17 (.pdf). And see more about Riehl’s New Orleans buildings, both residential and commercial.
August 4, 2021 At its monthly meeting, N.O. HDLC staff reported on efforts by Commissioners Lee Bressler and Jason King to increase the illegal demolition fine (currently $10,000 maximum) by indexing it to 15% of the assessed value of a building, like the methodology/structure currently used by the Neighborhood Conservation District. The proposal must be sent to the La. Legislature as part of the Mayor’s legislative agenda.
July 29, 2021 A special page on Subdivisions has been added to this site. The topic flared up recently as a general policy issue at the CPC meeting of July 27, 2021. Please check back soon for important updates.
July 28, 2021 A stop-work order was posted at 2204-06 Octavia Street. Marengo Investments, LLC, has been fined a total of $6,960. Owner Matt Rosendahl of Valmont Properties had been working since mid-June without a permit. Contractor is Riverbend Construction of La., LLC. We mention the property because it’s located just outside the boundary of the proposed University Area Overlay. See more details on 2204-06 Octavia on Facebook. [Update at July 31: fine has been reduced to $3280.][Update at Sept. 25: fine has been reduced to just $240.]
July 28, 2021 A stop-work order was posted at 1415-17 Audubon Street, where Tedesco’s crew was working without a permit—quietly, in the back of the property. A fine of $440 was imposed. [August 15: update coming soon.]
July 23, 2021 Preston Tedesco, dba 700B8, LLC, was fined for continuing to work without a permit at 1128-1138 Adams and 7710-14 Oak Street, a five-cottage complex purchased from Riverlake Properties on Sept. 30, 2020. The permit application has been open since February 8. See Tedesco’s other, similar violations. A stop-work order was posted on-site at Adams/Oak on June 29 to no effect. On July 21, a worker was observed sitting in front of the buildings as a lookout while construction activity continued. [Update at July 28: another round of fines were imposed on Tuesday, July 27, when work continued throughout the weekend.]
July 21, 2021 Per the HDLC, Felicity Property Company, developer and part-owner of the Carrollton Courthouse, will not appeal the fine levied on them by the HDLC on July 7, 2021, for their illegal demolition of the historic Courthouse schoolhouse. In addition, the N.O. HDLC confirmed that it would consider a demolition fine increase at the next meeting, scheduled for Wed., Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m. The current maximum fine for an illegal demolition is $10,000. An increase would require the approval of the Louisiana Legislature.
July 13, 2021 The City Planning Commission voted to deny a recommendation of the new University Area Off-Street Parking Overlay. The final staff report is due at the City Council by July 24. The City Council then has sixty days in which to vote on the Overlay, which would succeed and extend the boundaries of the University Area IZD. The IZD will end on Sept. 17, 2021. See the timestamped links to the July 13th meeting video and a map of the Overlay.
A transcript of the CPC’s July 13 deliberations on Docket #044-21 (.pdf) is now available.
July 11, 2021 In a triumphant “post-pandemic” return to the New Orleans music scene, Benny Grunch and the Bunch performed at Carrollton Station, 8140 Willow Street, for the benefit of Town of Carrollton Watch. Photos by Claudia Garofalo.
July 9, 2021 Katherine Hart reports on the New Orleans HDLC meeting of July 7 in the Uptown Messenger: “Carrollton Courthouse developer fined for razing schoolhouse building.”
July 7, 2021 The unpermitted demolition (in May 2021) of the Carrollton Courthouse schoolhouse at 701 South Carrollton Avenue was considered at the New Orleans HDLC meeting. This was the single-story building on the Maple Street side of the site, dating from the 1880s. In the City’s video, the discussion of the “retention of demolition” for the Courthouse schoolhouse starts at timestamp 02:50:00.
HDLC Commissioner for Carrollton Lee Bressler (BF ’77) stressed the need for higher fines (03:25:55) for unpermitted demolitions. The final vote (03:33:20) approved retention while levying the maximum fine of $10,000. The Courthouse developer, Felicity Property Company, has 10 days in which to appeal the decision to the City Council. HDLC Chairman Jesse LeBlanc II announced his intention to establish a subcommittee to set higher fines as recommended by Bressler, especially for such high-profile sites as the Courthouse.
July 2, 2021 The sale of the “vacant land” at 1230 Broadway—the subdivided old sideyard of 1238 Broadway—is now pending. The sale price is $325,000. The seller is 1230 Broadway Development, LLC (.pdf).
A deed restriction limits the density of the lot to single-family use—or to a single-family house with a mother-in-law suite. More details. However, the size of the lot is 6120 sf, potentially accommodating a three-unit dwelling, though a special application for a non-conforming use would be necessary. The original parcel—that is, the unsubdivided 1238 Broadway—was purchased on December 28, 2018, for $1,325,000. The subdivision was approved (.pdf) by the City Planning Commission on November 6, 2020.
Howard and Daniel Heidenberg, a father-and-son developer pair based in Tampa, buy and rent University Area houses to students. (They never renovate, it seems, so this is not the classic D2D phenomenon of gutting a house for conversion into an open space living-kitchen-dining area plus bedrooms and bathrooms.) The properties are mostly leased as single-family houses. According to the company site, this one has six bedrooms.
If 1602 Pine is rented as a single-family house to six student tenants—that’s against zoning, per the CZO/Article 26 definition of a “family” as no more than 4 unrelated people per unit. The law is never enforced, however.
As far as we know, this is the Heidenbergs’ first purchase since they bought the Sisters of Mercy convent at 6028 Freret—13 bedrooms; $12K/mo.—in July 2020. (Otherwise, we’ve noticed that the Heidenbergs are no longer posting rents on their website.) And herewith we’ve lost another homestead exemption in the neighborhood—the mark of owner-occupancy.
June 25, 2021 Preston Tedesco and John Hamide have purchased 1720 Broadway, their 29th house in the University Area. The sale closed on April 29, 2021. The list price was $625,000. Preston Tedesco owns two additional houses, 7313-15 Freret and 1736 Pine (a block away from 1720 Broadway), in partnership with others. [Update: 1736 Pine was sold on Oct. 29, 2021.]
See the current map of private student housing in the University Area. Tedesco and Hamide have not yet applied for a renovation permit. Approval will no doubt be rubber-stamped by Safety and Permits.
June 18, 2021 On June 11, developer Fred Chiu purchased the duplex at 2407 Palmer Avenue for $495,000 from developer Gibson Lott.
Lott had bought the property in a succession sale on April 16 for $350,000. He is also (for the moment, anyway) the owner of 925 Burdette Street—the formerly grand Ireland House, now shorn of its grounds, its caretaker’s cottage demolished.
Chiu also owns 2525 Palmer Avenue, purchased for $765,000 from Eric Nelson of New York City on November 25, 2020. (Preston Tedesco was Nelson’s agent in that sale.)
So Lott turns a tidy profit of almost $150,000; and Chiu gets a new investment property that is not subject to the restrictions of the IZD, which compels a homeowner to provide an off-street parking space for each new bedroom. (The “Overlay” that would extend the territory of the IZD to include Palmer Avenue will not go into effect until later this year.) Both of the developers win. As for the neighborhood—we’ve lost another homestead exemption (i.e., an owner-occupied home), while gaining more trash and noise and parking problems. See the current properties map.
June 12, 2021 Town of Carrollton Watch is now on Instagram. Please send neighborhood photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re especially interested in construction sites.
June 10, 2021 The windows of the Carrollton Courthouse were removed on June 9. Four hundred piles will be driven on either side of the Courthouse: the operation is scheduled to last for 4 weeks. The old custodial cottage (aka “the old schoolhouse,” on the Maple Street side of the building), has been demolished. The structure served first as Mr. Romeo’s Russian and Latin classroom in the 1960s at Ben Franklin Senior H.S., and later as the studio art and biology classrooms. Watch for a follow-up on this topic, as the cottage was supposed to be rebuilt by the developer, Felicity Property Company, under a new construction permit in Music Box Village on North Rampart. Not least—Benjamin, the Courthouse cat who’d taken up residence on the grounds, is being well cared for by a neighbor.
June 6, 2021 Rep. Aimee Freeman’s HB372 was deferred by the La. Senate Committee on Health and Welfare today (Sunday, June 6) for further discussion and study. So it’s dead in the water for this year. The bill would provide for stiffer penalties for bad-actor developers in New Orleans. Councilman Joe Giarrusso, III, was also in attendance. Video is available here (timestamp for begins at about 00:08:00).
June 2, 2021 Architect Loretta Harmon submitted a new structural renovation work permit application for the Hamide/Tedesco D2D at 820-822 Hillary, voiding the application she submitted on March 19. The developers have changed the existing use from multifamily (Mar. 19) to two-family (June 2). As a result, they may expand the footprint without establishing non-conforming use. More information to come.
June 2, 2021 We lost our lawsuit against the City, the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and Tammie Jackson, Director of the Department of Safety and Permits. Judge Paulette Irons ruled in favor of the City. Amicus Properties is now free to install 4 more bedrooms in the D2D at 7612-14 Burthe St. for a total of 8 bedrooms—without adding off-street parking. Thanks for supporting your neighbors in this suit.
May 28, 2021 The much-disputed structure at 2431 State Street (corner Willow) is now on the market with three condos for sale, starting at $735K. The property, owned by Bahram Khoobehi and associates, was the subject of a failed BZA appeal by neighbors on August 10, 2020. Architect is Charles I. Silbernagel, CIS Architects, Metairie. There are nine bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom—and a total of three parking places. Listed by Charlotte Dorion of Berkshire Hathaway.
May 24, 2021 The demolition application for 1028 Eleonore Street has been withdrawn from the Historic District Landmarks Commission Agenda for June 2. Owners: Michael Grishman and Butler Brown Development; architect: Charles Neyrey. More details are available on Facebook.
Elevation is no longer permitted in Historic Districts (whether control is full or partial), thanks to an ordinance redefining demolition (.pdf) proposed by Councilmembers Giarrusso, Banks, and Palmer and passed on March 25, 2021, by the City Council.
May 24, 2021 Demolition has already commenced at 1736 Pine. Workers showed up at 7 a.m. to cut off the rear 47.7% of the roof to provide for a three-bedroom camelback. Fifty percent is the limit, as mandated by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.
“Sure they didn’t take off more?” No, we’re not. The HDLC has been alerted to the possibility. Owners Preston Tedesco and Sidney Torres V state that the house will contain 6 bedrooms in total. Looking at the extra “office” and formal dining room—superfluous rooms for students—included in the plans, we come up with 8. When you’re a developer, your arithmetic follows a different calculus. For the time being, though, the house is being advertised with an Aug. 1 move-in date at a rent of $3,000/unit.
May 23, 2021 We’re updating our list of properties to include permit application dates and permit issue dates. This will assist anyone who wants to watch the calendar of the 45-day appeals window for a given property. Another new category in the table is “Needs NCU?”—which shows whether the developer must confirm a non-conforming use. Other oddities/exceptions are noted in the Status section. (Check the list soon for more updates.)
May 20, 2021 “Loyola plans to welcome a record number of freshmen, as students and local residents brace for a potential housing shortage,” in the Uptown Messenger.
May 17, 2021 Uptown Messenger reports on 914 Dante Street, where a historic house and sideyard—and many concerned neighbors—are feeling the pressure of development: “Proposed subdivision of historic property causes controversy in Carrollton.”
May 17, 2021 Our neighbors’ appeals in re 631 Broadway and 1409 Broadway, owned by Amicus Properties, were both denied by the BZA. Thanks for your support and hard work on these issues.
May 14, 2021 We went to the Capitol yesterday (May 13) to hear the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs discuss La. Rep. Aimee Freeman’s HB372, which would impose higher penalties on bad-actor developers in New Orleans. The bill passed the Committee and will next go to the House. Here is a digest of the law; and the full text of HB372 and its amendments. And here’s more information about HB372.
Watch the video. Discussion of HB372 begins at about 0:13:00.
May 9, 2021 Please submit a comment to the BZA at CPCinfo@nola.gov in support of the neighborhood’s two BZA appeals that will be heard on May 17 at 10 a.m. Your written public comment is due on Monday, May 10, by 5 p.m. There will be another chance to submit a public comment during the hearing.
May 7, 2021 Architect Loretta Harmon has submitted plans to renovate the multi-family building at 812-14 Audubon. The plans are not yet visible on OneStop—a request has been made—but the application summary indicates that the building will contain 14 bedrooms in 3 units. (As the CZO allows for just 4 unrelated persons to a unit, this plan would require a permit of conditional use.) Project description reads: “Reconﬁguration of bathrooms and kitchens; minimal new walls, doors and windows.” An unusually realistic construction value of $100K is quoted. Owners are Dr. John P. Hamide and Preston Tedesco, dba 700B8, LLC.
May 4, 2021 Architect Loretta Harmon has submitted plans to camelback the single-family Craftsman residence at 1736 Pine. The plans, dated April 30, 2021, add just 3 bedrooms and 3 parking places in the rear of the house—in apparent compliance with the IZD. You may view the plans here.
But 2 rooms in the original house, now labeled “dining room” and “office,” are suspect. Why? Because they’re not bedrooms, bathrooms, or an open-plan living/kitchen area, and therefore can’t earn the new owner any money. Harmon’s total count: 6 bedrooms. Our guess: 8 bedrooms—and another attempt to skirt the IZD. The new owners of this house are yet to be identified. [Updates at May 5–6: the house was purchased on April 9, 2021, for $399K by Sidney Torres V and Preston Tedesco, dba S&P Real Estate, LLC (.pdf).]
May 1, 2021 Town of Carrollton Watch maintains an unpublished list of homeowners and renters in and around Carrollton who have been displaced by the doubles-to-dorms phenomenon. We’d also like to know of any houses that are likely to fall to developers under the domino effect of development pressure. Please write email@example.com with any such news, which will be held in the strictest confidence.
April 25, 2021 A mandatory injunction was signed by a judge in Civil District Court on April 22 to compel the City to issue a stop-work order on construction at 7612-14 Burthe Street, owned by Amicus Properties. The City posted a stop-work order at the property on Friday, April 23.
On March 19, 2021, a lawsuit was filed to compel the City to require that Amicus’s structural renovation work permit should be governed by the University Area IZD, which was enacted by the New Orleans City Council on March 5, 2020, the same day Amicus applied for the permit.
The lawsuit seeks an appeal of the BZA’s February 18 ruling that upheld the decision by the Department of Safety and Permits to allow Amicus to develop the house as if the IZD were not yet in effect. (Burthe Street neighbor Robert Strain filed the BZA appeal on November 12, 2020, and argued the case before the BZA on January 11, 2021, and February 8.)
A hearing date has not yet been set. Co-plaintiffs in the suit are Susan Johnson and the Town of Carrollton Watch, LLC. Counsel is Sonny Shields of Shields Mott, LLP. [Update at May 1, 2021: neighbors Claudia Garofalo and Robert Strain have joined the suit as co-plaintiffs. Hearing will occur on June 2 at 9 a.m.]
Please consider making a donation to the legal defense fund for this effort. Maple Area Residents, Inc. (MARI) is accepting funds via a dedicated PayPal account. You may also donate via Venmo at www.venmo.com/u/TownofCarrolltonWatch; via check; or via our Facebook fundraiser. See more information at 7612-14 Burthe Street Legal Defense Fund.
April 21, 2021 The second BZA appeal in the matter of 631 Broadway, owned by Amicus Properties, has been docketed for the May 17th hearing date.
April 21, 2021 The second BZA appeal in the matter of 1409 Broadway, owned by Amicus Properties, has also been docketed for the May 17th hearing date.
April 20, 2021 On April 16, Architect Loretta Harmon posted an application for a non-structural renovation permit for 1415-17 Audubon Street, purchased from Audubon Properties, LLC, on September 30, 2020, by John Hamide and Preston Tedesco, dba 700B8, LLC. Harmon’s plans, dated April 14, show three bedrooms in either unit with two extra rooms, which, we conjecture, are spuriously labeled—so that the house contains ten bedrooms, not six.
April 11, 2021 Neighbors near the Tulane campus have filed their second Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) appeal against Amicus Properties in the matter of 1409 Broadway, seeking to compel the Department of Safety and Permits (DSP) to issue a new work permit for the private student housing complex that is now rising at the site. The appeal is expected to be docketed on April 20 for the tentative hearing date of May 17.
The first BZA appeal had a positive result: on August 20, 2020, the BZA issued a ruling overturning DSP’s decision (.pdf) to issue the developer’s original permit for multi-family use (in 3 units, with 12 bedrooms total). The BZA decision was upheld by Judge Sidney Cates on January 12, 2021, in Civil District Court.
But on February 25, the DSP allowed Amicus simply to submit new plans for double-family use (in 2 units, with 8 bedrooms) under the same permit, rather than issuing a new one—which would have entailed governance by the University Area IZD. That is, under a new permit, Amicus would be obliged by law to supply off-street parking for the 4 new bedrooms the company is adding to the original Craftsman bungalow, which dates from around 1919.
A comparison of the plans of architect Seth Welty shows that the total area of the complex has been reduced by 20%—from 4397 sf (in the original design of February 3, 2020) to 3482 sf (in the revised plans of January 22, 2021).
Nevertheless, one room that was formerly labeled a bedroom (A105—shaded green in the layouts below) has been retained and renamed “living/TV room,” while a bathroom in the other unit (B109—shaded yellow) has been reconfigured into a “study,” allowing for the likely possibility that the “two-family” structure will finally (with a bit of reconstructive carpentry) contain 10 rather than 8 bedrooms, earning Amicus $10K/month instead of just $8K/month.
Complete plans are available on OneStop.
Public comments may be submitted a week prior to the hearing by email and on the same day via an electronic comment form at the City website. (More details to come.)
April 1, 2021 There was a neighborhood participation program (NPP) meeting on the proposed subdivision of 914 Dante by Riverlake Properties.
March 27, 2020 “To slow ‘doubles to dorms’ trend, New Orleans might keep Uptown parking restrictions,” by Jessica Williams, Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.
March 27, 2021 Investors John P. Hamide and Preston Tedesco, dba 700B11, LLC, have purchased the apartment building at 809 Cherokee from Riverlake Properties. The recorded price was given in the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate (March 25, 2021) as $425,000. Estimated actual sale price: $1,312,500. This is the fourth property purchased by Hamide and Tedesco on this block.
Our private student housing property count is now at 66.
March 25, 2021 “‘Doubles-to-dorms’ restrictions could apply to larger portion of Uptown,” reported by Greg LaRose on WDSU-TV, Channel 6.
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 would expand the University Area IZD (link to CZO) to the boundaries shown on the map below.
That’s just fine, but what about enforcement? Watch the discussion and the vote at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TdK1WNlhwE. (Starts at timestamp 1:34:15.) Includes Giarrusso’s announcement from Amicus Properties.
March 15, 2021 The property count for D2Ds and other private student housing developments in and around the University Area is now at 65. The count is known to be incomplete.
March 11, 2021 Our appeal of the HDLC’s approval of the demolition of the caretaker’s cottage at 925 Burdette (.pdf) was denied by the City Council. (See below at February 3 and February 15.)
March 5, 2021 Greg LaRose of WDSU-TV Channel 6 updates his continuing coverage of the neighborhood with “New Orleans City Council member says ‘doubles-to-dorms’ drive up rents near universities” (42 seconds).
March 5, 2021 It is the first anniversary of the City Council’s enactment of the University Area Interim Zoning District (IZD)—and as if to celebrate the occasion, construction has resumed at 1409 Broadway.
Architect Seth Welty has revised the plans for the project, for which Amicus Properties has obtained two-family (rather than multi-family) use, which means that the footprint of the building may be expanded after all. In fact, the living area has been reduced by 20% from the original plans, and the number of bedrooms reduced from 12 to 8, but 2 of the bedrooms from the early plans are now labeled “study” and “living/tv room.” However, DSP merely updated the permit rather than reissuing it, so that the IZD requirement (4 new parking spaces) would not be triggered. We join the neighbors of 1409 Broadway in expressing our utter disgust at this turn of events.
March 1, 2021 Activist and developer Neal Morris of Redmellon Restoration and Development critiques the Carrolltonian effort to fight private student housing development in “Shared housing is an affordable housing option,” published today in the Lens. Reached by telephone this afternoon, Lens editor Charles Maldonado affirmed that this opinion piece was printed in response to ‘Doubles-to-Dorms’: Another threat to New Orleans neighborhoods by Chunlin Leonhard, published by the Lens on October 30, 2020.
February 25, 2021 The owner-entity of 1533 Broadway has been issued a zoning violation letter (.pdf) by the Department of Safety and Permits. John Hamide and Preston Tedesco, dba 700B9, LLC, installed an illegal apartment in the raised basement of the house in January 2021. They’ve been cited for working without a permit and violating the University Area IZD.
February 24, 2021 We checked in with Felicity Investments, the new owner of the historic Carrollton Courthouse at 719 South Carrollton Avenue, and were told that the work schedule has been delayed “for a couple of weeks.” So the music won’t begin for a while yet. Construction was supposed to begin on February 22—demolition and pile-driving, courtesy of Palmisano Construction. [Update at March 26: still no construction.]
February 19, 2021 Deadline for appeal to the Civil District Court by Amicus Properties of the BZA’s decision in the matter of 631 Broadway. (See below at January 20.) Amicus chose not to appeal the decision.
February 19, 2021 On this day, Amicus Properties elevated the historic shotgun at 7612–14 Burthe Street. See photos.
February 18, 2021 Construction recommenced at 7612–14 Burthe Street. See photos. Having prevailed over its neighbors at the BZA hearing of February 8, Amicus Properties continues with its plan to shore and elevate this 19th-century single-story shotgun above the rest of the block. View the BZA’s ruling on 7612–14 Burthe (.pdf), issued on this date.
February 17, 2021 Broadcast on WDSU-TV Channel 6 at 6 p.m.: “Uptown neighbors want tougher enforcement on ‘doubles-to-dorms’” (link to YouTube)—Greg LaRose’s investigative reporting on the University Area investments/developments of Dr. John P. Hamide and Preston Tedesco. Also starring Sidney Torres, IV.
February 15, 2021 This is the adjusted deadline (from February 13) to appeal the demolition of the caretaker’s cottage of the old Ireland House at 925 Burdette, to the City Council. The new owner, Robert Gibson Lott, has already received the HDLC’s permission to demolish the south wing of the house. (See below at February 3.)
February 13, 2021 In the matter of 1409 Broadway: according to a notice received February 12 from the DSP, “There is a stop work order in place pending submission [of] CZO-compliant plans or court order in [Amicus’s] favor; however, minimum maintenance including protecting the property from the elements is also required. There is a code enforcement case (21-00264-MPM) and a complaint letter was sent January 15, 2021.”
February 9, 2021 Safety and Permits/Code Enforcement site inspection is scheduled for 1409 Broadway, owned by Amicus Properties; Joe Giarrusso’s office has requested an evaluation of the building’s deterioration in addition to the defined scope of the inspection (.pdf). Neighbors are concerned that Amicus could be positioning the property for demolition. **(See above at February 13.)**
Other Carrollton houses we’re watching for the same reason: 7612–14 Burthe Street and 7519 Hampson Street (link to assessor’s site).
February 8, 2021 The Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) has denied Rob Strain’s appeal of the Department of Safety and Permit’s issuance of a work permit to Amicus Properties to renovate and elevate the historic shotgun at 7612–14 Burthe Street. The next step is to appeal the case to the Civil District Court.
February 3, 2021 The HDLC today unanimously approved the demolition of the caretaker’s cottage at the historic Maginnis-Ireland House at 925 Burdette. The south wing of the main house will also be demolished. The applicant was Sean Fisher, architect for the new owner of the historic house, Robert Gibson Lott. Also present at the meeting was the new HDLC mayoral appointee for the Carrollton Historic District, Lee Bressler.
Watch the video here (link to DropBox). The presentation on 925 Burdette starts at 01:09:45; discussion of the caretaker’s cottage begins at 01:15:15.
February 3, 2021 The homely little building at the corner of St. Charles and Broadway, for decades a drugstore, will now serve the university neighborhood as the uptown location for Avenue Wines and Spirits. Some people still remember ordering BLT’s at the K&B lunch counter sixty years ago. Now it’s out with the cough medicine, processed cereals and cat food stocked by the national chains that have occupied 7133 St. Charles since the 1990s. This jernt will sell whiskey, craft beer and cigars. And boy, do they deliver! As solid citizens and businessmen they’ll also be checking I.D.’s. (Oddly enough, the corner of St. Charles and Broadway has always been a good pick-up point for DWI’s.)
February 1, 2021 Written comments are due in re neighbor Rob Strain’s appeal of the Department of Safety and Permit’s issuance of a work permit to Amicus Properties.
January 21, 2021 The Louisiana Landmarks Society sponsored an online lecture on the “New Orleans’ Nine Most Endangered Sites of 2020” by James Rolf, III, of Rolf Preservation Works. The Society has named the University Area D2Ds (“doubles to dormitories”) as one of “the Nine” most endangered cultural/historical New Orleans sites of the outgoing year.
January 20, 2021 In a notice of disposition (.pdf) on 631 Broadway, the BZA denied the appeal by Amicus of the City’s determination that the permit issued did not conform with the University Area IZD. The finding was based on the prior owner’s statement and drawing showing a total of only 7 bedrooms in the structure at the time of sale at January 23, 2020, while Amicus wanted to put in 5 new bedrooms (for a total of 12), while providing only 2 off-street parking places.
Amicus has 30 days from 1/20/21 to appeal the decision to Civil District Court.
January 12, 2021 WDSU-TV reported briefly on Judge Cates’s ruling.
January 12, 2021 Judge Sidney Cates of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court today dismissed Amicus’s petition (.pdf) in re 1409 Broadway, upholding the BZA’s decision last August that Safety and Permits had issued the building permit in error. This means that Amicus may not camelback the building as planned. Three 17-month leases (each at $5000/month) had already been contracted—even before the purchase of the building was closed on September 13, 2019.
January 11, 2021 The BZA upheld DSP’s decision on the bedroom count (seven bedrooms rather than twelve) at 631 Broadway, denying Amicus’s appeal.
In re 7612–7614 Burthe Street, the appeal by Rob Strain of DSP’s issuance of a structural renovation work permit has been deferred until February to allow the DSP enough time to find the paper copies of the architectural plans that were submitted at the time of the application on March 5, 2020, the same day the University Area IZD was enacted. The plans were allegedly misplaced because of the cyberattack on City Hall.
January 11, 2021 Watch our recent television ad on the Town of Carrollton Watch YouTube channel. The ad aired on January 1–11 on WWL–TV Channel 4 and its internet affiliate WUPL-54—ahead of the January 11th BZA hearings involving Carrollton neighbors and Amicus Properties.
January 11, 2021 Safety and Permits issued a stop-work order at 7534 Burthe Street, recently purchased off-market by local developers John P. Hamide and Preston Tedesco. On Dec. 14, Tedesco’s architect, Loretta Harmon, applied for a non-structural renovation work permit. Neighbors noticed that work on the building started at the same time. Several neighbors eventually reported the violation, and Safety and Permits confirmed that (a) the permit had not been issued; and (b) that Hamide and Tedesco were in violation.
An HDLC inspection on January 8 found no violation with regard to the HDLC regulations, while somewhat paradoxically reporting that Tedesco had been informed that he was working without a permit.
It’s also reported from the neighborhood that this non-structural renovation of one of the four one-bedroom apartments in the building will actually convert the two upper apartments into one unit—and that new bedrooms will be added. (The work permit application states that this is merely a renovation of a one-bedroom apartment.) We will keep watching.
December 27, 2020 Neighbors of 1409 Broadway, the subject of a BZA appeal of Aug. 10, 2020, have requested a court hearing to determine whether the owner should be required to close the house to prevent damages by exposure to elements and animals. The concern is whether the owner of the house, Amicus Properties, is positioning the house for demolition by neglect. A court hearing in the Amicus appeal of the BZA decision was held on November 18, but the judge has not rendered a decision. [Update: see 1/12/21.]
November 30, 2020 Times Picayune/Advocate —‘New list of New Orleans endangered sites includes old school, former church’ (.pdf), by R. Stephanie Bruno.
October 30, 2020 Lens opinion piece—‘Doubles-to-Dorms’: Another threat to New Orleans neighborhoods by Prof. Chunlin Leonhard.
September 16, 2020 Tulane Hullabaloo—’University area residents advocate to ‘Stop Doubles to Dorms‘ by Gabby Abrams.
August 6, 2020 The City Council voted to extend the IZD until May 5, 2021.
August 5, 2020 Greg LaRose of WDSU-TV interviewed the Leonhards about Amicus’s development of 1409 Broadway.
July 31, 2020 See the Final University Area Parking Study (.pdf)
July 25, 2020 New Orleans’ Uptown University area could see these changes to relieve traffic congestion, by Jessica Williams, Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.
July 23, 2020 4–5 p.m. Michael Fabre, dba Crescent City Developers, demolished the left wing of the Ireland House at 925 Burdette Street. The workers performing the demolition had no permit with them at the time.
July 23, 2020 Bringing students back endangers university workers, by Matt Sakakeeny and Mohan Ambikaipaker, Readers’ Views, Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, page 6B.
July 20, 2020 Written comments on the CPC’s draft University Area Parking Study (.pdf) are due by 5 p.m. to infoCPC@nola.gov.
May 26, 2020 The City Planning Commission (CPC) voted to recommend to the City Council that the IZD should not be approved. See the final Staff Report of June 3, 2020.
March 5, 2020 The City Council enacted the University Area Interim Off-Street Parking Zoning District (IZD) per Councilman Joe Giarrusso’s Motion M-20-80. The description of the boundaries (at CZO 19.4.A.1.l.B) are as follows:
The University Area Interim Off-Street Zoning District applies to all lots bounded by: lakeside of Saint Charles Avenue, downtown side of South Carrollton Avenue, riverside of South Claiborne Avenue, and both sides of Audubon Street (excluding the portion between Plum Street and Zimple Street that exists solely within Tulane’s campus.