Road blockages downtown the price of progress, Rhorer says

    Road blockages and partial closures that come along with large construction projects downtown can be an inconvenience to those that work and live in the area, but are just part of the process of continued revitalization, says Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer.

    New Orleans-based Key Real Estate Co. recently secured financing to turn the Commerce Building into a mixed-use development with 93 apartment units.

    Tall chain-link fences went up last week around the building, closing sidewalks adjacent to the building, cutting off a lane of Laurel Street and eliminating several parking spaces on Third Street. Those fences could stay up for anywhere from a year to 14 months, Rhorer says.

    “It’s not any different than when the courthouse was under construction,” Rhorer says of the nearby 19th Judicial District Court building. “440 on Third had space to stage, but IBM is closing off a street.”

    440 on Third, another mixed-use project, is nearly complete on the opposite end of the same block the Commerce Building sits on. Construction workers were able to use a parking lot on the property to stage equipment and get rid of debris from the interior remodel. IBM is building a mixed-use complex at River Road and Main Street that is scheduled to open in the spring, but the project required the closure of a part of nearby Lafayette Street as construction has progressed over the past year.

    DDD recently established a subcommittee to focus on eyesores and clutter associated with construction projects. Rhorer says the district is keeping an eye on construction as it progresses, not just for aesthetics, but also for process.

    “You can’t work at 4 in the morning. There are people that have to sleep,” Rhorer says. “The dynamics of downtown are changing. You may not have had to think about these things before, but now you do.” —Kelly Connelly

    View Comments