Metro Council approves rezoning for Government Street development

The Metro Council Zoning Committee approved a rezoning request Wednesday that will clear the way for the redevelopment of half a block along Government Street in Mid City.

The Neill family, which owns one of  the largest Aveda dealerships in the U.S., the  Hammond-based Neill Corp., acquired the 1-acre, L-shaped property at Government and St. Rose streets earlier this year for $1.17 million from its longtime owners, the Mese family.

The property includes several parcels that developer Garrison Neill plans to redevelop into a restaurant and bar with outdoor seating, gourmet wine shop, and an Aveda barbershop concept called The Parker Barber.

“The thing I think is so exciting about this is that council members (Carolyn) Coleman and (LaMont) Cole both said this project is an example of how a developer can work with the neighborhood and everyone was very pleased,” says Neill, who hopes the project will be completed by the middle of 2022.

Neill initially encountered opposition from a handful of nearby residents, who were concerned about noise and parking. At their request, he scrapped plans to seek a rezoning request for two residential lots he intended to demolish and redevelop into a parking lot.

Instead, he was able to secure an arrangement with the owner of Boudreaux’s, across Government Street, to use the venue’s parking lot. He plans to ask the state to put a crosswalk at the intersection.

Neill, an investor in the recently completed $22.5 million St. Vincent hotel in a historic building in New Orleans’ lower Garden District, has deep roots on Government Street. His family’s company was founded in Baton Rouge in the 1940s and operated on Government until 1977.

As currently envisioned, his plans for the Government Street property include: redeveloping the former Mid City Bikes space into the wine shop and market; leasing an adjacent office building to a retail user; and redeveloping the former Garden District Nursery space into the barbershop.

The rest of the block, which most recently was GD Barbecue and originally opened as a gas station in 1929, would be redeveloped into an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant.

Neill is still working on a name for the development.