North Rampart Street hotel, apartments planned for whole city block

Posted on: March 4 2015

By Katherine Sayre, , The Times-Picayune

One large block of North Rampart Street could be transformed with a developer's plan to knock down an existing building and construct a five-story, 200,000-square-foot mixed-use hotel and apartment building.

HRI Properties of New Orleans intends to develop a 205-room Homewood Suites extended stay hotel with 40 penthouse apartments at 317 N. Rampart St., where a new streetcar line is under construction.

HRI's president and chief operating officer Tom Leonhard said the company views the project as an extension of its work redeveloping the former Iberville public housing complex into a mixed-use, mixed-income community in a public-private partnership.

The block on North Rampart Street sits just across Basin Street from the Iberville site.

HRI committed to developing the surrounding neighborhoods outside of Iberville as part of its application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Leonhard said.

An extended stay hotel blends more into the surrounding residential landscape, he said. It's also an intersection near several key spots, including the French Quarter, Saenger Theater, Louis Armstrong Park and the new streetcar line.

"We think the trend in the lodging business is people come to New Orleans because they really want an authentic experience," Leonhard said. "That to me is a very authentic New Orleans location. You know you're in New Orleans when you're there."

The plans require city approval for a demolition permit to knock down the existing electrical supply building. Leonhard said the building is not historical.

The new hotel-apartment building would also house 144 parking spots. The project costs are still being worked out, Leonhard said, but the costs will likely exceed $40 million.

The apartments on the top floor are designed with outdoor terrace space, overlooking the French Quarter on one side and Treme on the other side, he said.

Nearby, at Canal and North Rampart streets, a demolition is underway to make way for a $70 million apartment building, being developed by Mohan Kailas.

HRI's other hotel developmetns in New Orleans include more than 1,280 rooms at the Hyatt French Quarter, Hilton Garden Inn French Quarter/CBD, the soon-to-open Aloft hotel and apartments on Baronne Street and Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt Place in the Warehouse District.