Demolition of non-historic building, other changes coming to St. Charles Ave.

This news brief appeared in the October issue of PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!

The New Orleans City Council will allow the demolition of a non-historic office building at 3600 St. Charles Ave. only after redevelopment plans have been approved by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission. The decision, which came at the Sept. 1 City Council meeting, upheld an HDLC decision on the demolition. The motion was made by District B Council Member Lesli Harris, who cited the corridor’s historic significance.

Other major developments planned along the avenue include a five-story hotel with covered parking at 3500 St. Charles Ave. The HDLC signed off on plans for the new 30,000-square-foot building earlier this year at the recommendation of its Architectural Review Committee. The approved design features balconies set in plastered bays, many with rounded corners that mimic three-centered arches.

A multi-building development on the 3400 block of St. Charles Avenue won “conceptual approval” from the HDLC last year with the caveat that final designs be subject to ARC review. The HDLC also approved demolition of a fire-damaged apartment building and a mid-20th-century drugstore to make way for the project. However, no building permits have been secured for the three-, four- and five-story structures that are primarily residential with ground-floor retail planned for along St. Charles and Louisiana avenues.

Owners of 745 St. Charles Ave. received non-structural renovation permits to convert the historic structure into a seven-unit, all-suites hotel with ground-floor retail. The historic brick storefront topped with a tile awning and crenellations bearing a letter “T” insignia was home to a radio dealership in the 1920s as well as hotel rooms on the second floor. It was later a Piggly Wiggly grocery.

Another existing building being repurposed with minimal exterior changes is the former Whitney Bank branch at 1320 St. Charles Ave. The mid-20th-century building will become home to Baptist Community Ministries, or BCM, a foundation established in 1995.