Undeterred by neighborhood opposition over the controversial Holy Cross redevelopment plans, City Council gave the proposal the thumbs-up today in a 5-1 vote. The project details: Construction of two 60-foot riverfront residences with 123 units and a transformation for the old Holy Cross School's administration building into offices and commercial space. The plans pitted Team Perez Architects (the developers of the Lower Ninth Ward site) against some residents who feel it's an out-of-touch, out-of-scale development for the low-rise community.
1.) Councilmember Jason Williams, in his first City Council meeting, was the only one to vote against the Holy Cross plans. He said he's pro-development but didn't get "why the neighborhood and developer cannot come to an agreement."
2.) When the proposal first hit the scene, 135-foot structures were a part of the plan. Obviously, those weren't a big hit and were eventually shrunk to 75-feet. The current 60-foot residences are part of a "comprise plan" from Perez that scaled back the whole development, nixing 161 residential units and eight smaller buildings.
3.) City Council prez Stacy Head called this one of the most difficult decisions she has had to make while on the council.
4.) Some possible coming attractions at the development include culinary classes by Cooking To Please owner Ronnie Seaton, a karate school, and a coffee shop.
5.) The historic Holy Cross School's campus was wrecked from flooding when the levees failed after Hurricane Katrina and the old administration building, which dates back to 1895, is the only structure that made it. The Holy Cross School re-located to Gentilly and Perez signed a purchase agreement on this site in August 2012.
6.) Councilmember James Gray, whose district reps the Holy Cross neighborhood, said the opponents of the development "refused to negotiate" and "If you refuse to negotiate you lose your opportunity to have input." He also said, "The majority of people in the Lower 9 won't even see this project." Dang.
7.) Some Holy Cross residents had other ideas for 13-acres of land. Details on their three proposals here.
8.) Mayor Mitch Landrieu is a fan of the redevelopment plans.
9.) This was the third time the redevelopment plans hit City Council. They were postponed twice. Before that, the City Planning Commission and the Historic District Landmarks Commission had no recommendation.
10.) Opinions! The Times-Pic, The Advocate, The Lens, and The Atlantic Cities weigh in.
· Live blog: City Council approves rezoning for Holy Cross development [The Lens]
· City Council approves Holy Cross development [Advocate]
· Holy Cross development coverage [Curbed NOLA]