NEW ORLEANS -- A longtime eyesore in the New Orleans neighborhood of Lakeview may soon have a new lease on life. A private developer has purchased the old abandoned school on Milne Boulevard.
The school now sits blighted and abandoned. Demolition by neglect of this early 1900's Craftsman style building started years ago.
"It's been an eyesore for I'd say maybe 20, 30 years," said Frederick Hornberger who owns rental property adjacent to the site.
The Lupo family deeded the property to the city in 1929 with a proviso that it be used and maintained for public education. The school board abandoned the building after Hurricane Katrina and the Lupos took back title to property in 2006.
Now, according to a listing in the real estate transfers, the Lupo's company Hedwig recently sold the property to Scurlock Development for nearly $1.2 million.
"We've got a buyer," said Nancy Lytle from the Lakeview Civic Association. "I think that's absolutely fabulous. Let's get it up and running with something. Something we can all be happy and proud of."
The developer did not return phone calls seeking comment on the project. But according to the Lakeview Civic Association, the developer would like to turn the historic building into an upscale condo and assisted living facility.
"I think with any project in Lakeview, questions are always asked," said Lytle. "You always want to be considerate of the people that are living next to any project. It has been sitting there a long time. It's time."
This part of Lakeview is zoned single family residential. The developer would have to get a variance from the city to be able to turn the old school into multi-family housing.
"I have mixed emotions about it," said Hornberger. I'm going to lose my privacy over here. I'd like to keep it residential."
Real estate expert Ian Cockburn says redeveloping the abandoned property would be good for Lakeview.
"When a perspective buyer comes by, especially from out of town and they look at the property and say what's that old building doing on the site, it scares them away, a bit," said Cockburn. "When people see new construction and they see new properties coming out on the market, they say this is the type of neighborhood I want to live in."
There is no timetable yet for redevelopment of the site.
Susan Guidry, who represents Lakeview on the New Orleans City Council, was unavailable for comment.