The team behind the renovation of the Tessier building on Lafayette Street downtown is planning a four-story, 16-unit condominium development on the lot behind the building.
Developers Dyke Nelson and David Weinstein told the Downtown Development District on Tuesday that the roughly $2 million Lafayette House will feature four single-bedroom units per floor at just over 600 square feet per unit.
Nelson, who is also the architect on the project, said they are holding off on the design of the top floor in case a buyer wants a larger floor plan.
The property will feature a courtyard surrounding the building and balconies that take advantage of the view.
Nelson noted that the design will use transparent materials to allow for more light and prevent visual obstruction.
The units, which will be $185,000 on the first two floors and $195,000 on the third, will have prearranged financing.
Buyers will be required to put down 5 percent, Nelson said.
Construction is projected to begin this summer with the first residents moving in by the fall of 2013.
Nelson said the three residential units he and Weinstein put in the Tessier building, which also includes office space, were snapped up so quickly that they decided to build the Lafayette House.
While some condominium sales have lagged in some parts of the parish, Nelson said, the market is strong downtown because there is unmet demand for residential development.
The 9,850-square-foot Tessier building, the oldest building in the parish, also has four commercial spaces, three of which are leased.
The DDD also heard that the 22-unit affordable housing development called 438 Main Street will be completed in September and already has 40 people on the list to rent units there.
DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer said residential development is a key part of moving downtown forward because it puts people downtown around the clock to feed restaurants and other businesses.
“It makes the ultimate difference in how downtown continues to grow,” he said.
“It’s really going to be key for restaurant owners and business owners to be successful throughout the year,” agreed Eric Macicek, who owns a nearby bar called The Office, with Brandt Broussard.
Macicek told the DDD about plans to open Restaurant IPO in The Office building, serving Southern-inspired tapas items such as redfish tacos and duck crepes.
The restaurant should be completed in June, he said.