NEW ORLEANS -- As the watching crowd clapped, participants in hard hats ripped off a picture of the way the Franz Building on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard looks now, and unveiled its planned appearance after renovations.
"The architecture is beautiful. It's embedded in a wonderful community, and the opportunity to bring that back to the city, it is very exciting to us," said Phyllis Cassidy of the Good Work Network, which bought the building two years ago.
The Good Work Network is spending $2 million to restore the 100-year-old Franz Building by next summer.
"We'll have some incubator space for small contractors and other businesses," said Cassidy.
Adrian Darby thinks the Franz Building is a perfect location to expand his chain of bakery stores.
"The bakery is sitting on Oretha Castle Haley where the new development is. It'd be great for Adrian's to come and help the community out."
This is one of a number of planned developments designed to make Oretha Castle Haley a destination for businesses and customers once again.
"Coming up in the next five years, I think you can look for a lot of change. We're going to have a lot more property redevelopment," said Lynnette Colin of the Oretha Castle Haley Main Street development organization. "We're already recruiting new businesses."
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is helping the turnaround by moving their offices there.
"Buildings like this that you see here, that have been out of commerce, blighted, being fixed up, and having new tenants come in, so that is one key part of it," said Ommeed Sathe, NORA's real estate manager. "Another key part is building some residential housing around the Boulevard."
One of the big concerns has been finding a way to save the former barber and beauty college that has already been in a couple of Action Reports. But New Orleans Redevelopment Authority has only received two bids so far, so they are still trying.
"It is a very difficult building, as you can tell, to keep rehabbed, and I think we are trying to find somebody who has a track record of fixing those buildings up," sais Sathe.
You can reach NORA by dialing 658-4400.
If you have a problem you want Bill Capo to look into, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 504.522.4404.