Construction will begin early next year on the first phase of a planned mid-rise mixed-use development on the former site of Holy Cross School in the Lower 9th Ward, the development team behind the project said Wednesday.
Perez Architects said it will soon file permit requests with the city for the selective demolition, remediation and renovation of the school’s old administration building.
The firm intends to review bids for work on the building in late fall and select subcontractors by the end of the year. Construction would begin in the first quarter of 2016 and take about 12 months to complete.
Perez’s construction management team gave an update on the plans during a meeting with potential subcontractors Wednesday morning at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center in the Lower 9th Ward.
Despite objections from some Holy Cross residents that the development would overwhelm their community of mostly modest, low-rise houses, Perez received the go-ahead from the City Council last summer to build two 60-foot-high riverfront residential buildings and to redevelop the old administration building into commercial and office space.
The conversion of the existing building, a $10 million project, will make up the first phase of the development. The four-story, 45,000-square-foot structure is the only one remaining after most of Holy Cross School’s buildings were torn down after Hurricane Katrina; the school has moved to Gentilly.
When it’s complete, the renovated building is slated to house retail shops and business offices, including that of the Perez firm, which is planning to move its headquarters from the French Quarter.
Perez is not providing a timeline for the development of the rest of the site, said Steven Massicot, the company’s senior vice president and general manager of real estate development.
Wednesday’s meeting was called to ensure that the project’s subcontractors will include local, minority- and woman-owned businesses, Massicot said.
Unlike developments that receive taxpayer dollars, the privately funded project is not required to achieve a specific participation goal for such businesses, but a company representative told the 30 or so people gathered Wednesday that Perez plans to partner with local and disadvantaged businesses “in a meaningful way and not play games with it.”
The company said it will need small businesses and tradesmen with a variety of skills, including electrical, plumbing and masonry.