Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's build more nice things for rich people

Seems to be the winning strategy so far.
The property runs alongside the Lafitte Greenway, a bicycle trail set to open this summer. It edges up to the Mid-City Rouses on the lakeside and Bayou St. John on the riverside in between Conti and Toulouse streets

Early visions for redevelopment involve apartments and houses, retail shops, a gymnasium, café and boutique hotel. Proposed amenities include fire pits facing the bayou, playgrounds and bike paths.
In an interview Monday, Torres said the size of the tract caught the attention of the investor group. Partners in the deal include hotelier and developer Joe Jaeger and Hicham Khodr, owner of Camellia Grill and other New Orleans restaurants.

"Where else can you find nine-and-a-half consecutive acres of land in the city of New Orleans?" Torres asked. "It was a big deal."

Torres describes the Mid-City tract as a "blank canvas." He has a loose vision for the property. The lots closest to the bayou seem ideal for residential development, he said, and he wants to see small shops and a café along the greenway.
It's always fun when a developer talks about "blank slates" in New Orleans.  Also Hicham Khodr also owns pretty much every property on Magazine Street.  Jaeger, meanwhile, owns lots of things also... including this proposal to create a whole riverfront hotel and condo "district" using public money from the convention center.

It sure is a nice time to be a NOLA oligarch.  "Buy some dirt," Ray Nagin once told them.  Well, they're doing it. And they're building lots of nice things for rich people on top of it.  When do the nice things trickle down to the rest of us? Is that not part of the plan?

Update:  Take a close look at what's happening to London.

There are also effects beyond housing, although often driven by residential property prices. The spaces for work that are an essential part of the city’s economy are being squeezed, its high streets diminished, its pubs and other everyday places closing. It is suffering a form of entropy whereby the distinctive or special is converted into property values. Its essential qualities, which are that it was not polarised on the basis of income, and that its best places were common property, are being eroded. It is becoming the case that delights and beauties are available only at a high price.

This would matter less if the city were making new places with the qualities of those now packaged up and commodified – if the supply of good stuff were expanding – but it is not. Although the cranes swing, much of the new living zones now being created range from the ho-hum to the outright catastrophic. The skyline is being plundered for profit, but without creating towers to be proud of or making new neighbourhoods with any positive qualities whatsoever. If London is an enormous party, millions of people are on the wrong side of its velvet rope.
Is this what we want, guys? Because it's what we're tying to build.

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