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Oil and gas building to become mixed-income apartments

19th August 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Fritz Esker
Contributing Writer

Plans are underway on the renovation of the old Oil and Gas Building at 1100 Tulane Avenue, with the goal of turning it into mixed income apartment housing.

The Oil and Gas Building, which stands on the downtown end of Tulane Avenue near South Rampart, has been vacant for over 10 years. The non-profit organization Volunteers of America and its subsidiary Renaissance Neigh­borhood Development Corporation is re-developing the property into apartments. Renaissance was founded in 2006 with the goal of bringing more affordable mixed income housing to post-Katrina New Orleans.

Sizeler Thompson Brown are the architects on the project, which is still in its design phase. The estimated start date on construction is mid-2014 and the apartments are expected to be ready to rent by mid-2015. The 130 units will be loft-style one-bedroom apartments with between 500-600 feet of living space.

Victor Smeltz, executive director of Renaissance Neighbor­hood Development Corporation, said the apartments will be targeted at support staff for the LSU/VA hospital complex in Mid City and downtown service industry professionals who can’t afford the higher rents in the Warehouse District or the French Quarter.

While many of the building’s amenities are still in the planning stages, the 14-story building will boast a common-use rooftop terrace with dramatic views of the New Orleans skyline. The complex will also house a fitness center.

The apartments will not be Renaissance’s first foray into redeveloping Tulane Avenue. They have already developed the Terraces on Tulane, a senior citizens complex located at 3615 Tulane.

Smeltz is excited that the new building will be a part of the revitalization of downtown, which also includes the re-opening of the Saenger this fall, the completed renovations on the Joy Theater, and the new streetcar line. He likens the activity to a string of pearls.

“Every new pearl we get on that string of pearls will strengthen the vitality of the whole corridor,” Smeltz said. “There’s a lot of activity in the area that we think it’s going to enhance.”

This article originally published in the August 19, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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