NEW ORLEANS -- Whether residents on Tchoupitoulas Street like it or not, they will soon get a new neighbor.
The New Orleans City Council approved the development Thursday of a $35 million hotel in the Warehouse District.
A valet parking lot will soon be home to a new hotel. The lot, nestled between two buildings on the 600 block of Tchoupitoulas Street, has been the center of controversy after residents learned the proposed hotel would be 75 feet tall, with seven stories.
"We care deeply about preserving this city, neighborhood by neighborhood, and this hotel would just dramatically change the look and feel of this block," said Jason Landry.
"When you take one parking lot away in an already exceedingly difficult area to park, you're going to create more and more of a problem," said Karen Sepko.
The council's approval of the project includes scaling back the project to make the height compliant with current zoning laws.
That means the developer can build a hotel, but it can only be five stories. Still, opponents are not happy with the compromise.
"It isn't just about the proposed project being too tall, it's about never intending to follow the rules in the first place," said another concerned resident at Thursday's meeting. "With the only justification for breaking those rules being economic feasibility, a.k.a personal profit."
While the height of the building has been addressed, residents still have concerns about traffic and parking issues a new hotel may create.
"I would rather see the height be more and parking underneath," said Sepko.
However, the architects in charge of designing the upscale, boutique hotel reassured residents that they are addressing the parking issues in their overall design.
"The parking valet would help unload the luggage and park the vehicle and one of the spaces available is directly across the street, which would avoid having the vehicle reenter Tchoupitoulas Street," said the architect of the project John Campo.
According to Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, although the maximum height of the building cannot exceed 65 feet, the architectural review committee will still have to approve the hotel's final design before the developer can move forward with the project.