Development partners Greg Ensslen of Go Mango Neighborhood Restoration, Michael Valentino of Valentino New Orleans Hotels,Woodward Interests, the development wing of Woodward Design+Build, and Chris Bellone, have broken ground on a new 10-story hotel next to Ochsner Baptist.
The team is renovating the old Bristow Tower, part of the hospital complex, in to a 90 key hotel, just a few blocks from Freret.
The 50-year-old building sits at the corner of Magnolia and Cadiz, and has been leased by the developers for conversion to a limited-service hotel. Last year, Uptown Messenger broke the news of the hotel, which then was called the Alder Hotel.
The development partners closed on financing in June of 2016, demolition began a month later, and the new construction just started a few weeks ago.
Bristow Tower was named for one of the founding doctors of Southern Baptist Hospital and provided convenient housing for nurses and employees. By 1995, the building was run down and only the first and second floors were in use. The rest had been “mothballed.”
Soon after the entire hospital was purchased by Ochsner just after Hurricane Katrina, Ensslen approached Ochsner about working with them to renovate the structure. He has originally proposed 54 apartments, but no one seemed to love the idea. Then he pitched an extended stay hotel, and they struck a deal.
The developers also knew that the building age was approaching 50 years old, which would make it eligible for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. The first step for tax credit eligibility was to get the mid-century modern building named to the National Register of Historic Places. After an initial denial, the building was accepted onto the National Register in January 2016, making it eligible for tax credits and thus a viable project.
Woodward Design + Build is the general contractor, Woodward’s Lisa Quarls is the architect, and Valentino’s New Orleans Hotels will operate the hotel.
The building is scheduled to be complete and ready for guests by June 2017.
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