A proposal to renovate the D.H. Holmes Apartments in the French Quarter will result in a sizable revenue boost for the city, the property’s developer told the City Council on Thursday as the body unanimously approved an amendment to the lease for the apartment building, part of the former D.H. Holmes Co. department store on Canal Street.
HRI Properties plans to spend $10 million renovating the Bienville Street building’s 87 units and adding 10 additional units. The developer will make upgrades to the entrance and common areas as well as the fitness room and business center. The renovations will allow for an increase in rent from $1.65 per square foot to $2.25 per square foot.
The city will receive a one-time payment of $750,000 and annual rent payments of $205,000, up from about $50,000 per year under the old lease, HRI officials said. The amended lease will span 25 years.
Construction is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.
HRI leases the apartment building and several nearby sites from the city’s Canal Street Development Corp., the public benefit organization formed to stimulate business development in the Central Business District and the adaptive reuse of city-owned properties along Canal Street.
The Holmes properties, almost two city blocks of land and buildings that once made up the department store, were donated to the CSDC in 1989.
The area was leased that same year to HRI. Before Thursday, the lease had been amended seven times to account for various changes in the use of the buildings and land.
In addition to the apartment building, the site includes the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel, four restaurants, a parking garage and other commercial uses.