Height Controversy in the Lower Ninth Ward

Two seven-story buildings, proposed for the former site of Holy Cross School in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, have created heated controversy in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. In question is the character of the city’s riverfront neighborhoods.

Sarah Goodyear writes of the ongoing controversy over a development proposal by Perez Architects, APC. Perez “wants to construct a condo and retail development on the 12.5 acres of the old Holy Cross College grounds, hoping to capitalize on the growing appetite for in-town riverfront living,” according to Goodyear.

“The developer is asking for a zoning variance to allow the construction of nearly 300 apartments in several multi-unit buildings, including two that would be 7 stories tall—higher than the 4 stories permitted under current zoning, although reduced from the initial 13-story proposal. The plan also calls for more than 500 parking spaces.”

On the one hand, the proposal represents a chance at investment in a part of New Orleans that has not kept up with the recovery in other parts of the city. On the other hand, however, “[the plan’s] opponents say it would destroy the fabric of Holy Cross, and might represent the first step toward changing the traditionally low-rise New Orleans waterfront into something very different: the kind of high-rise, high-rent district you see in Miami or Houston.”

Goodyear’s coverage also details a set of alternative development proposals by the Lower 9 Vision Coalition, which does not have the funding to buy out the Perez Architects plan. The city’s Planning Commission recently split on the proposal—sending the plan to an April 10 hearing with the City Council without a recommendation.

Full Story: In the Lower Ninth Ward, a Fight Over Height

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