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Downtown Development Ventures and A Side Of Scandal

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The Kailas family is one of the biggest developers and landowners in the New Orleans area, with several projects going on right now. There's the ultra-luxury $70 million retail/residential tower at the former Woolworth Building on the edge of the French Quarter. There's the $30 million Kailas Towers office/residential development at the First National Bank of Commerce building in the CBD. Oh, and then there's Praveen Kailas, a huge proponent of the Woolworth development, who admitted guilt on some federal theft charges. The case was unsealed yesterday and concerns Lago Construction (one of the companies Praveen owns) and the Small Rental Property Program, meant to aide in post-Katrina re-building. Whoops. WWL broke the story last year, so do check out what they have to say.

photos via Eric Bouler, plans by Trapolin Peer

The Kailas fellows are a tough bunch to get a hold of. Several phone calls weren't returned the past few days, but perhaps they had more pressing matters? Anyway, a quick search of Kailas Towers at 210 Baronne brings up a dated website offering pre-sale condos on floors 12 to 17 starting at $275K. An email from the realtor confirmed that's old news and he hasn't "heard much on that project," so forget about that rooftop party he promises to throw for you if you buy a unit.
The Kailas Towers project is currently waiting on a change of use so they can switch it up to an office-residential combo. Floors one through five will remain offices and floors six through 20 will have 261 residential pads. The top floor will have a pool, fitness center, and conference rooms.
Praveen's little brother, Naveen Kailas, is affiliated with this development. WWL reports that Naveen "claimed to work a full eight hours on Small Rental on all but eight weekdays the entire year – at a cost of $185,000 to taxpayers, including when he was at meetings on another taxpayer-funded program, the home elevation grant program."
So now the question remains, will the scent of scandal lure in the tenants? Stay tuned.
· Developer exposed by WWL-TV pleads guilty to federal theft charges [WWL]
· 1031 Canal Street, Living The Easy Way [official site]
· Small Rental Property Program [official site]