Developer Green Coast Enterprises, in partnership with the Crescent City Community Land Trust , has closed on the purchase of a vacant downtown, historic building for conversion into apartments and retail.
Green Coast closed on the former Higgins Industries Building at 234 Loyola Ave. last week for $4.8 million from Johnann LLC, an entity owned by Lou Talebloo.
Green Coast is working with Crescent City Community Land Trust to redevelop the 10-story office tower into a mixed-use, mixed-income complex. According to Orleans Parish conveyance records, the purchase includes a $3.78 million mortgage and security agreement with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, a Maryland-based lender for affordable housing developments with a significant presence in New Orleans.
The development will include 80 one- and two-bedroom market rate and lower-income apartments on the upper floors and roughly 11,000 square feet of sub-dividable commercial space on the ground floor and mezzanine area. Even though the closing just occurred last week, Green Coast actually began working on the project last year.
Studio WTA is the architect and designer and Landis Construction is the general contractor. The development would qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification as a sustainable green building.
The building dates back to 1909 when it was built by Samuel L. Green for the Colored Knights of Pythias, a Late 19th/Early 20th Century fraternal order that grew out of a Civil War era organization. Mr. Green was reputed to be the richest African-American in New Orleans, and perhaps in the country. The building became the home of the Knights of Pythias, and was later used as a jazz hall, a community theater and offices for companies that Pythian knights operated.
In the 1940s, it became a wartime hiring office for Andrew Jackson Higgins, who built the Higgins boats that President Eisenhower famously said “won the war.” Higgins hired men and women of all races through a single personnel office, one of the first times this had occurred in the South. The top floor was a double-height dance hall where soldiers and sailors danced and enjoyed live New Orleans music before shipping out to fight in WWII.
Check out the website for development here.