Building in Harmony With the Environment
Is Green Coast Enterprises a construction company with an environmental focus, or an environmental company with a construction focus?
“What sets Green Coast apart is that we want to be very intentional about including energy efficiency and healthy home concepts into our buildings,” stated Jackie Dadakis, the company’s chief executive officer. “When we started 14 years ago, this was an unconventional approach. It’s common now, but our team has fourteen years of experience, which gives them the ability to intertwine these into our projects.”
Since being founded in 2007, Green Coast has helped develop more than $200 million worth of construction projects. These include iconic commercial spaces such as the Pythian Building, as well as over 2000 housing units, so GCE is definitely a construction company.
At the same time, Green Coast Enterprises is a Stage 3 Certified Green Business, which does indeed make it an environmental company as well, one with a strong commitment to social equity and justice, as well as water management, resource conservation and coastal preservation. GCE actually describes itself as “the community resiliency company,” a phrase Dadakis defined as “making sure our projects embrace the communities they are going into and making those communities stronger.”
The company has used this tagline since 2010, “before the rise and fall of the term resilience,” as Dadakis put it. “But we build things that are strong, that will last and stand the test of time, so that people won’t have to be so resilient.”
In this context, she is aware of the many infrastructure challenges that confront New Orleans, but she is optimistic about current and future progress.
“I think the infrastructure has come a long way in the past fifteen years,” she observed. “We have made major repairs that give me more confidence in the next fifty to a hundred years than I was a decade ago.
“That said,” she continued, “we cannot have the economy we want if we can’t keep the lights on. We’ve gotten more functional as a city, so that when the lights come back on, we all get back to work. But we need people’s own homes to be a safe haven during disasters.”
To this end, Green Coast is about to launch the renovation of the Public House building on Freret Street, in partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services. One of the few remaining properties to be redeveloped along that stretch of Freret, the project will focus on durability and energy efficiency. The resulting eighteen condos will be net-zero in relationship to the electric grid.
A project nearing completion is 882 Montague Street in the Bywater. The 69 new apartments will be highly energy-efficient, with ten of them offered as affordable housing. And were it not for the supply chain issues confronting builders along with almost every other industry, the project would already be completed.
“We started construction in January 2020,” recalled Dadakis with a hint of a sigh, “and since then it has been one unprecedented event after another. This was our first foray into new construction at this scale, and managing the supply chain issues was hard. We’ve been delayed six months because some of the finishing products have not arrived on time.”
Dadakis has been with GCE since 2013, and replaced co-founder Will Bradshaw as CEO in 2017. The company is probably best-known for its renovations of culturally significant commercial structures such as Community Green on South Broad and the New Orleans Homeownership Center on Freret. The Pythian Building on Loyola Avenue, which includes the popular and successful Pythian Market, is its most visible project to date, and Green Coast moved its own headquarters there once the work was complete.
With its complement of local food and retail vendors, office spaces and apartments, the Pythian is the perfect mix of history and modernity, of uses and accommodations, of past and present combining to usher in the future. And it is the perfect home for Green Coast Enterprises, a construction company and an environmental company.