(New Orleans, LA) Downtown Development Group (DDG), headed by New Orleans developer Joshua Bruno, has signed a purchase agreement for the 124,000 square foot, 14-story UNO Technology Enterprises office building at 1600 Canal Street (corner of South Robertson) —formerly leased by LSU Health Sciences—and plans to redevelop it into a Class A, mixed-use medical & technology offices/services center.
Construction is scheduled to begin in April, with a targeted completion date of August 2008. The $16 million redevelopment project financed by Joshua Bruno & DDG and is also in negotiations with several private banks for additional funding, will feature lobby floor retail space, office support services, restaurant and bank. Bruno will also apply for a restoration tax abatement certification.
Building amenities include a back-lit, red onyx lobby with marble floors, roof-top dining cabana, employee lounge, concierge services for offices and employees, and a high tech security entrance system and a 24-hour security officer. Other building features are: a digital phone system, wireless Internet, energy efficient electrical and plumbing systems and hurricane resistant windows.
The 1600 Canal Street building is located next to the new Tulane Medical Center building that was donated by Murphy Oil and across from the new Bio-Medical Research and Lab Building. The site is bounded by the new federally-supported theatre district, the proposed Canal Street Technology corridor, the French Quarter and the Claiborne Avenue area that will be anchored by the country’s largest Home Depot
“We are the only private Class A medical & technology office/retail center in the heart of the $3+ billion LSU-VA Hospital medical district,” states Bruno. “1600 Canal will be the premier location for private hospitals; pharmaceutical and bio-med companies; high tech firms; and physician, insurance and medical support offices.” “The city and state needs more of these types of industries to move forward and gain a competitive advantage with other cities of our size nation wide. We will be able to provide a building with services, design and amenities that no other class A building in Louisiana offers, at a price that’s comparable to most Class B buildings in the metro area.”
DDG is redeveloping and designing the building and Bruno, Inc. a vertically integrated real estate development company will manage and lease the property. DDG will partner in the construction of the building with Imburgia Construction of Miami, FL, headed by Louis Imburgia, the former mayor of Miami Shores, FL and co-developer of public and private projects throughout the Miami area. Steven Finegan & Associtates, will be the architects and Ray Canzinari & Associates will be the electrical engineers on the project.
DDG has developed more than 200 residential housing units—from low and moderate income communities, to the middle and upper income 45 unit -Riverview Apartments under construction on the river in South Kenner. The company is now concentrating on filling the need for medical and tech office space that will provide numerous high-paying jobs and provide a higher tax basis for the city and state. Which Bruno envisions at eh catalyst to increase demand in the metro area housing market.
Bruno and DDG and is also the development company that designed and is heading Century Park, a $20.2 million Class A office and retail center in Slidell, adjacent to the planned UNO Technology Center along the I-10 Technology corridor. One of the keys to Bruno’s successful real estate developments is that he tends to design his projects to add value and services to a larger surrounding development. In addition, his entrapneurial back ground and drive has shown he usually one of the first private developers that not hesitant to invest his own money in areas of the city he believes to be the imperative in the city’s recovery.