Work underway on Wampold’s luxury New Orleans apartments

Interior demolition has started for 100 Elk, a luxury apartment building Baton Rouge developer Mike Wampold is building between Canal Street and Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.

“We’re pretty much off to the races,” Wampold said. “We hope to begin moving people in there by May 2014.”

Wampold will spend about $20 million renovating the 16-story office building. The plan is to put 8,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, with seven floors of parking above that and 100 apartments on top of the garage.

Having parking inside the building gives 100 Elk an advantage over some of the other apartment projects in the Central Business District, Wampold said. “Those places have parking outside the building or a designated lot near the building,” he said.

The majority of the units in 100 Elk will be two-bedroom, two-bath and about 950 square feet in size. There will be some one-bedroom, one-bath units that are about 700 square feet and some three-bedroom, three-bath apartments that will be around 1,300 square feet.

Wampold said 100 Elk will have a rooftop pool and cabana area, a fitness center and a business center.

“We have the ability to put balconies outside all of the units,” Wampold said. “These will be spacious balconies, where you can put a table and chairs.”

Units in 100 Elk will rent for between $2 to $2.50 per square foot and parking will cost between $150 and $200 a month.

“That will keep rent right at about $2,000 a month,” Wampold said.

Wade Ragas, a real estate consultant and professor emeritus of finance at the University of New Orleans, said the occupancy rate for apartments in the CBD is about 95 percent. Rents average between $1.60 and $1.80 per square foot.

“They’re going after a more-affluent occupant,” he said.

Wampold acquired the 16-story building at 144 Elks Place two years ago. The 130,000-square-foot building is along the Loyola Avenue streetcar line and near the Tulane Medical Center.

“This whole area has really gone through a significant conversion process,” he said.

Because of the proximity to the medical center and the Joy Theater, Wampold hopes to bring in a restaurant to take up part of the first floor. “Or it could be a grocery store ,” he said. “Our focus has been on completing the apartment.”

Plans are to start pre-leasing for 100 Elk in the next three or four months, Wampold said.