Some Warehouse District Residents Opposed to Soho House Development
NEW ORLEANS – There’s an interesting battle brewing in the Warehouse District, where Chicago-based developer AJ Capital Partners is planning to build a Soho House hotel at 420 Julia Street, the site of the former Louisiana Children’s Museum. Soho House began in 1995 in London as a private club primarily for members of the media, arts and fashion industries. Now, Soho House & Co operates 27 clubs, hotels and venues around the world.
Opposition to the new hotel comes mostly from neighborhood residents who are concerned that the hotel plan involves converting an existing street-level parking lot into a multi-story parking garage for hotel guests. The existing lot is one of the few affordable parking options in the area, residents say. Galleries and restaurants in the area, of course, are more enthusiastic about the new venture, which could bring potential art patrons and diners in droves.
New Orleanians are already familiar with the work of AJ Capital Partners founder Ben Weprin, who renovated the Pontchartrain Hotel in 2016 and gave the city the popular rooftop bar Hot Tin. Cooper Manning, of the football Mannings, is one of the investors in the Pontchartrain and is the director of investor relations at AJ Capital Partners.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Soho House membership policies focus on creativity “above net worth and job titles” with “studied resistance to ostentation…[and] cultivated status signifiers.” Globally, there are tens of thousands of Soho House members and lots more on waiting lists to join.