Historic Church Sold; Developers Plan Hotel, Community Space

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Developers have bought a 156-year-old former church and school with plans to turn it into a hotel and community center.

         Orleans Parish records show that the $2.4 million purchase closed Friday, New Orleans CityBusiness’ Robin Shannon reports.

         Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and School was founded in 1848 to minister to Irish Catholics in the area that became known as the Faubourg Marigny. In addition to the school and the church, which was designed by Irish-born architect Henry Howard, the campus includes a convent, rectory and parking lot.

         Neighborhood resident Nathalie Jordi and New York interior designer and developer Ari Heckman want to turn the school and rectory into a 71-room boutique hotel. The church will be renovated as a community space.

         The City Planning Commission and City Council rezoned the property and approved a change of use for the hotel.

         The school closed in 1992. The church has been vacant since 2001, when the Archdiocese of New Orleans consolidated several area parishes.

         Jordi estimated that it will take six to nine months to finish plans and get city permits. She expects construction and renovation to take 18 months to two years.

         The hotel plan calls for 64 rooms in the school, six in the rectory and a parking space for each room. The hotel will rent bicycles for guests.

         The previous owner, a group led by attorney Blake Jones, bought the property on 2012 for $900,000, planning to turn the school into residences.

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