City Council allows demolition of 1031 Annunciation St.

At its regular meeting on Thursday (Oct. 5), the New Orleans City Council voted to allow the full demolition of a historic warehouse at 1031 Annunciation St., appealing the Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission’s (CBDHDLC) Sept. 6 decision to deny the application. Built circa 1919, the former Dixie Machine Welding and Metal Works building contributes architecturally to the local Warehouse District Historic District and the National Register’s Upper Central Business District Historic District, which the PRC helped nominate in the 1980s.

As an advocate for the city’s historic architecture and as a neighbor of the building, the PRC is concerned about unnecessary demolitions within historic districts, especially in the Warehouse District. If too many are allowed to be demolished, it will threaten the neighborhood’s national historic status.

Photos by Dee Allen

The PRC is equally concerned about inconsistent and inequitable enforcement of city regulations. Previous applications to incorporate the historic fabric of this property into a new construction development were approved by the HDLC. This remained a viable option, and the HDLC encouraged the owner to consider alternatives to demolition again.

Standard maintenance is something required of property owners across the city, and stewardship in historic districts is critical to maintaining our city’s character and integrity. Over the last decade, this warehouse has been left to deteriorate. Code Enforcement levied fines, but instead of holding the owner accountable here, a drastic, irreversible and unnecessary exception was offered.

Full demolition of this protected warehouse harms the historic district, and rewards negligence — and all without a guarantee for any future redevelopment.

MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley is PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator & Public Policy Research Director.