The latest apartment to be developed near the new Tulane Avenue hospital is announced. Despite the fact that everyone knows about the billion dollar VA/LSU hospital complex, which is the largest new hospital development in the US-being built on Tulane Avenue-only now has a developer stepped forward to convert a nearby vacant building into apartments. The building is the 17 story, 130,000 square foot building at 144 Elk Place, previously thought to be in a poor location: not close enough to Poydras and too far from the French Quarter, making a transition to a different use more than a businessman’s risk.
Wampold, a Baton Rouge developer plans to convert a vacant 17-story downtown office tower into luxury apartments for medical district employees and downtown office workers. Plans for the 130,000-square-foot Elks Building at 144 Elks Place include 8,000-square-feet of ground floor retail, seven levels of parking comprising 200 spaces and nine floors of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, building owner Mike Wampold said. A $16 million building permit was issued July 16, and interior demolition has already begun. Lemoine Construction of Grosse Tete is the general contractor for the project, Coleman and Partners Architects of Baton Rouge designed. Wampold said construction would take about 10 months and units would be ready by May. Wampold said the building, which was built in 1975, is not historic and that he did not use tax credits to purchase the property or fund its conversion.
“This allows us to make renovations how we want on the interior and exterior,” Wampold said. “We had considered carving out condos, but we made the decision to own it out right and rent units out.” Apartment rents will be set at market rate, which ranges from $794 to $1,200 per month for all of metro New Orleans according to the most recent multi-family housing report from Larry G. Schedler and Associates. Wampold said amenities will include a rooftop pool and fitness center. He hopes the building’s location will attract the incoming work force at University Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Hospital, along with current Central Business District and French Quarter workers.