Week in Review, June 21-25: The Beach, the Blake and Hotel St. Vincent

Hotel Saint Vincent Exterior By Douglas Friedman
Hotel Saint Vincent (photo by Douglas Friedman)

NEW ORLEANS – Here are the week’s biggest business stories:

The Hotel Saint Vincent is officially open at 1507 Magazine Street. The 75-room boutique hotel, which cost approximately $22.5 million to create, was developed by Austin-based hospitality hotshots Larry McGuire, Tom Moorman and Liz Lambert. New Orleans-based partners in the project are Jayson Seidman and Zach Kupperman, who are also co-founders/developers of the Drifter on Tulane Avenue. Seidman is also the owner and designer of the Columns. The St. Vincent is located in an 1861 building that originally housed the Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum. The property features “lush” public spaces, a swimming pool, outdoor verandas, an event center, several bars, and two full-service restaurants. San Lorenzo serves coastal Italian and the Elizabeth Street Café is a French-Vietnamese-style café and bakery. …

An alliance of global shipping lines has launched a new Asia-to-U.S.container service that brings a third weekly direct-to-Asia service to the Port of New Orleans. On June 22, the ONE Modern arrived at Port NOLA during its inaugural trip. Port President and CEO Brandy D. Christian said the new service expands New Orleans’ direct connectivity with Asian markets for importers and exporters, adds a new direct port of call to Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan and offers additional options for customers. “This new direct-Asia service highlights the industry’s continued investment in the New Orleans market and the importance of the Louisiana gateway’s connectivity to Asia,” said Christian in a release. “We are excited that our partners at Hapag Lloyd, ONE, HMM, Yang Ming and Evergreen are committing to this service and increasing access between the U.S. Gulf and the global market.” …

Starting this week, the University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park will go by its catchy new name: “The Beach at UNO.” The Beach is a 30-acre site on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain with 800,000 square feet of customizable office and laboratory space. Since the 1990s, public agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies have set up shop there to “innovate and create through technological, cultural and scientific interaction,” according to a release announcing the name change. The rebrand – which includes a new website, social media handles, logo and tagline – aims to “reflect the park’s collaborative and inclusive community which fosters a spirit of inquiry and the exchange of ideas to maximize innovation and shared prosperity throughout the Gulf region,” said a Beach spokesperson. …

Local leaders attended a grand opening celebration at The Blake at Colonial Club, a $28 million assisted living and memory care community built on the former site of the shuttered Colonial Golf & Country Club in Harahan. The Blake is owned by Quality Senior Living, a Pensacola, Fla.-based portfolio company of LongueVue Capital, a private equity firm based in New Orleans with offices in New York and Salt Lake City. Operational since December, the new community is the first real estate development on the former Colonial site, an 88-acre property near the Mississippi River that has been vacant since 2012. The Blake is expected to create 80 to 100 jobs and be home to over 120 residents when fully occupied. The 115,000-square-foot space has 70 apartments for assisted living and 48 apartments for memory care. …

Nonprofit real estate development organization Providence Community Housing has announced that it will redevelop the former Our Lady of Lourdes school campus, located at the corner of a booming Freret Street and Napoleon Avenue. The renovation of the school building and gym, along with new construction, will create 62 rental units for seniors. Trapolin-Peer Architects will lead the design. “Providence will help fill the critical need for affordable housing in this vibrant neighborhood,” said Terri North, Providence president and CEO, in a release. “The property is ideally situated along the Freret Street corridor with access to transportation, groceries, healthcare, and other quality of life amenities suited to seniors. Providence is proud to transform this viable property, that has sat dormant for far too long, into homes designed for seniors and their unique needs.” …

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she is reconsidering plans to move City Hall from Perdido Street to the empty and blighted Municipal Auditorium, originally built in 1930 and out of use since Hurricane Katrina. “Over the past several weeks we have increased the engagement process about what should be done with Armstrong Park, City Hall, and the Municipal Auditorium in a holistic, productive way,” said the Mayor in a statement. “As part of that process, last night we heard from many of the neighbors and other residents who demand and deserve to have their voices heard. This ongoing dialogue is healthy as we continue our progress on such a vital issue.” …

The Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Greater New Orleans Chapter, in partnership with New Orleans & Company, will host the 11th annual Restaurant Week New Orleans from June 21 to June 27. Tabasco, Louisiana Seafood and the Louisiana Office of Tourism are sponsors. “People are returning to our beloved restaurants with confidence in the industry,” said LRA President and CEO Stan Harris. “Some people haven’t visited our restaurants in over a year, and now, as more people are getting vaccinated, they’ll hopefully feel a little more comfortable dining out in one of our world famous establishments.”  …

From the AP: Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Demi Lovato, Ludacris, The Isley Brothers, Melissa Etheridge and Trombone Shorty are among the acts scheduled to perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which will return this fall after a one-year pandemic hiatus. The 2021 festival is scheduled to run Oct. 8-10 and Oct. 15-17. “We were determined to put on this festival in October,” said Quint Davis, chief executive of Festival Productions Inc., which produces the event. “There were challenges in doing that but we don’t mind challenges.”

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