A nonprofit corporation with ties to Brother Martin High School has purchased a nearby vacant apartment complex from Dillard University with plans to raze the building and convert it into green space.
Elysian Fields Property Corp. acquired the building Sept. 10 for $1.62 million, according to Orleans Parish civil court records. The lot — roughly 305 feet long and between 99 feet to 121 feet wide — is located at the corner of Elysian Fields Avenue and Lombard Street.
John Devlin, who is president of both Brother Martin and the corporation, said the property — vacant for roughly two years — had long been on his radar.
“We didn’t ever really expect Dillard to give it up,” Devlin said. “We were really a little surprised when it came up for sale.”
Elysian Fields Property Corp. owns six other properties in the Gentilly neighborhood, including two that are leased to the school as well as empty lots and homes that are leased as residences.
The corporation plans to demolish the apartment complex, clear the lot, fence it off and convert it into green space.
The school will then lease the space and at times use it on weekends or after school to host intramural or small sports practices. “You can never have enough green space,” Devlin said.
The corporation’s roster includes two of Devlin’s assistants: Thomas Mitchell, the school’s development director, and Nick Lagattuta, its facilities director.
Brother Martin has no plans to use the land to build an elementary school in order to add new grades, Devlin said, despite the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ edict in 2013 that local Catholic schools adopt a uniform grade structure.
The new rule has caused headaches at campuses throughout the city as school administrators often worked to eliminate one grade or add another.
Work on the land is expected to begin immediately, with an eye toward using it by next spring or summer.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.