Developer plans $2M apartment conversion of Treme hotel

by CityBusiness Staff Report

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans developer plans to convert a Treme hotel into 40 low- to moderate-income apartments in a $2-million project.

Joshua Bruno, the 27-year-old head of New Orleans-based Downtown Development Group, said he has signed an agreement to buy the 58-unit Rainbow Hotel, 1937 St. Ann St., for $320,000.

Construction on the project, The St. Ann Square Apartments, which will include 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, is scheduled to begin in late May.

Completion is expected by September, Bruno said.

Unit sizes start at 600 square feet and will rent for $600 a month. Three-bedroom units at 1,200 square feet will rent for about $975 per month.

First Bank and Trust and Bruno will finance the project.

Project features will include a gated court yard, closed circuit television security surveillance system, green space, gated off-street parking, free wireless Internet, units constructed with hurricane-resistant steel and concrete bracing, energy efficient electrical and plumbing systems and reinforced windows that comply with Dade County, Fla., hurricane codes.

DDG is designing the project. Bruno Inc. will handle construction. Metro-Wide Apartments, another Bruno company, will manage and lease the property.

“St. Ann Square will provide additional affordable housing in the historic Treme area, where there was considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina,” Bruno said. “Hopefully, this project will contribute to the overall redevelopment of this important area adjacent to the French Quarter.”

In addition to the St. Ann Square Apartment units, Metro-Wide will open a neighborhood self-service laundry on St. Ann and North Prieur streets. The company will hire Treme residents to run the laundry and to provide janitorial services for the apartment complex.

Metro-Wide will also start a neighborhood crime watch program in Treme.