By Claire Byun
Developers are petitioning to build a 212-unit apartment complex on the corner of Canal St. near the I-10 Expressway, though some zoning adjustments will be necessary.
Babington Properties, L.P – which is based in Mobile – submitted a request to the New Orleans Board of Zoning Adjustments in order to build a six-story apartment complex with retail area on the site. The lot’s current zoning limits multi-family developments to 1 unit per 1,000 square foot of lot area. For the petitioned property, the regulations would limit the development to 61 units.
The site is located at 1717 Canal St., which is near the I-10 Expressway intersection in Mid-City.
Developers want a complex with 212 units with full amenities, a structure for 239 parking spaces and more than 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The structure will be built to the property lines with intermittent balcony encroachments over the public rights-of way, according to documents submitted to the city.
According to city code, MU-1 districts limit height for multi-family and
non-residential structures to 60 feet and five stories; however, the Canal Street Height Overlay District extends this limit to 85 feet and 7 stories for all properties along Canal Street between N. Dorgenois Street and N. Claiborne Avenue.
The project includes two interior courtyards that contain planters and outdoor seating areas for the residents, as well as a pool. Most of the units are planned as one-bedroom apartments, though there isn’t enough permeable open space to meet city requirements.
City Planning staff, however, said the site deserves a special waiver since the building’s design “appropriately buffers the Interstate condition with the surrounding neighborhood while providing needed supply in multi-family housing,” according to city documents.
Granting a zoning waiver doesn’t provide developers special circumstances or conditions, staff said.
“…the applicant is currently denied rights enjoyed by other similarly situated properties,” according to staff study.
City staff suggest approval of the zoning changes with six provisos, including gaining approval from the Department of Parks and Parkways for a tree protection plan for the existing Live Oak tree in the Canal Street right-of-way adjacent to the site. Staff also suggest final site and development plans be submitted to the BZA for approval.
The zoning board will vote on the proposal at their regular meeting Monday.