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Five buildings. Five histories. One transformative project. MEETING MODERN BUILDING CODES IS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES OF THIS HOTEL REDEVELOPMENT BY Davis Allen n the 900 and 1000 blocks of Canal Street, a project by Redmellon Restoration & Development is underway to turn the lights back on in the upper floors of five historic buildings: four adjacent buildings between 1001 and 1015 Canal St., and one across the street at 934 Canal. Today, four of the five buildings have retail tenants on the ground floor, but the upper floors have remained empty for decades. As business carries on along the ground floor, work will soon commence to transform the upper floors into a hotel. Redmellon, a local real estate development company focused on historic rehabilitation, urban infill and affordable housing projects, is a co-owner of this Canal Street project, along with building owner Hammy Halum. (Full disclosure: Neal Morris, principal of Redmellon, is a board member of the Preservation Resource Center.) The five buildings were constructed at different times and weave different architecture and history into the urban fabric of the streetscape. “These old buildings aren’t just important because the bricks are old,” Morris said. “What’s important is this tie to the past, and the tie to real people’s lives. The buildings become a way to look at the stories of the New Orleanians who lived there.” Taking the stairs from the modern-day retail spaces up to the buildings’ upper floors today is like walking into a time capsule. Many of the spaces remaining largely untouched since they were vacated decades ago. Artifacts and antique machinery from previous retail heydays — including piles of old mannequins, cash registers and store signs — are still scattered throughout the upper floors. Redmellon brought in Melissa Chua, a videographer, to help research, document and highlight the important moments, people and uses of the buildings. Historian Hilary Irvin also researched the buildings’ histories for the project’s historic rehabilitation tax credit applications. Continue reading on page 28 Photo courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection Charles L. Franck / Franck-Bertacci Photographers Collection. OCTOBER 2019 PRCNO.org • PRESERVATION IN PRINT 27