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Developers plan to convert New Orleans office building for residential, commercial use

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NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans company has completed the purchase of an office building in the business district and is planning a mixed-use development at the site.

New Orleans CityBusiness reported (http://bit.ly/Zc18Up) the building at 234 Loyola Ave. sold for $4.8 million.

Green Coast Enterprises bought the former Industries Building from Johnann LLC. Green Coast is working with Crescent City Community Land Trust to redevelop the 10-story building into a mixed-use, mixed-income complex.

Records show the purchase includes a $3.78 million mortgage and security agreement with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, a Maryland-based lender for low-income housing developments.

Green Coast Enterprises owner Will Bradshaw said the development will include about 80 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors and roughly 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and mezzanine.

The project was designed by Studio WTA of New Orleans.

Landis Construction crews have stripped away the building's 1950's-era steel and glass cladding so the original brick and stone façade can be restored.

Bradshaw said interior construction is expected to begin by the end of the year. He declined to reveal the project's construction budget, but said federal and state historic tax credits are part of the financing package.

The building was constructed in 1909 and was once the home of the Knights of Pythias, an African-American fraternal order that spawned from a Civil War-era organization. The building also housed a jazz hall, a community theater and offices for companies the Pythian knights operated.

After serving the knights into the late 1930s, the building became the hiring office for boat builder Andrew Higgins, whose famed landing craft helped shuttle Allied troops to beaches during World War II. Higgins maintained the 10th-floor dance hall as a place for soldiers and sailors to gather before being sent off to war.

Bradshaw said the development is expected to serve future employees of the medical corridor under construction on nearby Tulane Avenue.

He said commercial spaces will be configured based on the needs of the tenant, he added.

The developers aim for the commercial space to be filled by the end of 2015 and all residences occupied by early 2016.

According to records from the Secretary of State's office, Johnann LLC is owned by Hossein "Lou" Talebloo. City records show Talebloo bought the building in 2004 for $875,000 from Industries Realty Co. He planned a similar development but the project never materialized. The building had been vacant and gutted since 2010.


Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com

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