By Claire Byun
Despite opposition from a few neighbors and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, the demolition of the former Le Petit Motel has been approved.
The New Orleans Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee approved a request to demolish the former auto motel on 2836 Tulane Ave at its regular meeting Monday. The committee previously deferred the vote so developers could bring the plan to the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization for input.
Two people spoke in opposition of the demolition, including Erin Holmes of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. Holmes said the former hotel has architectural merit given it’s mid-century design and expressed concern about a large development on the Tulane corridor.
She also questioned if developers engaged enough of the neighborhood before setting their sights on a large-scale office building.
“I’m not sure if the public has really been engaged enough to really weigh in on that plan,” Holmes said.
Developers are hoping to turn the shuttered motel into a large commercial development with space for offices and retail. Raymond Bergeron, architect, presented his plan to the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization members at their monthly meeting earlier this month and faced little opposition.
Two people spoke in opposition at the NCDAC meeting, including someone who sent a letter against the demolition to MCNO.
The new development would combine office suites with room for commercial retail, such as a drug store or coffee shop. Since the property is so close to the courthouse, Bergeron said attorneys would probably have the most interest in office space. Residential units are not included in the plans.
Holmes, who opposed the demolition, said she’d like to see the building saved regardless of the damage.
“We think that the building has architectural merit, and we think it should be down with more consideration,” she said.
NCDAC members questioned the development Bergeron proposed, but eventually voted to approve demolition. The first motion – which was denied – would have deferred the decision until Bergeron submitted actual design plans and spoke to residents along South Dupre Street.
The demolition request now moves to the City Council for approval.