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Ekistics Has More Big Plans for the Bywater

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Developer Sean Cummings and his firm Ekistics have some big plans for a property along the Press Street railroad tracks, according to WDSU. Cummings, whose firm was responsible for the Rice Mill Lofts, the luxe Bywater dwellings featuring intentional graffiti, wants to develop the area into residences, artist studios, commercial spaces, a literal urban farm on the railroad, and much, much more.

From the letter Ekistics sent to people in the neighborhood advertising meetings to discuss the project, here's the rundown of what Cummings and Co. are proposing for 2940 and 2941 Royal St.:

• 8 studios for master-craftspeople to make stuff
• 2 pocket parks, inspired by courtyards at Feelings, Café Amelie, Bacchanal,
Satsuma and others locally, as well as a few in Casco Viejo Panama, Havana
and Sicily
• the interior street, named after our good neighbor and America's first
architect, Benjamin Latrobe, and inspired by a romantic artist colony in Italy
• 1 art gallery
• 2 neighborhood restaurants, 1 coffee shop and 2 bakeries
• Street murals, painted and curated by artists Brandan Odumns and Damon
Martin and inspired by Exhibit BE, the Arts District in Los Angeles and Museum
of Public Art in Baton Rouge

• Hobo Farms, literally an urban farm on the railroad Hobo Farms ... perhaps a tribute to the intrepid train hoppers who have made their way to New Orleans and have lived in squalor in abandoned warehouses that will later become luxury apartments? Anyway.

• Parking that exceeds the requirements of the new zoning code
• Approximately 220 apartments, 1 - 3 bedrooms, lofts to townhouses and both

market rate and "affordable" that average 1240 square feet Affordable in quotation marks: that's a good sign.

The letter waxes poetically about the project, citing inspiration from "European traditions. African influences. Caribbean ways. Texture. Pattern. Eccentric characters and heroes" and the "spirit of the Bywater," described as: "Germinating. Percolating. Steeped. Marinated. Distilled. And, lived. Played out in nearly 300 years of daily life. On this great river, this railroad and these streets." Ekistics also hopes that with neighbors' suggestions, "[The buildings] will obviously be listed on ordinary maps, but ... perhaps together we can put them on the poetic map as well."

The group wants to begin construction in February, with residents moving in November 2017. If you want to attend one of the meetings, they're 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) and 6 p.m. Wednesday at 2940 Royal St.

Below, before and after renderings of the project.

· Neighborhood meetings to discuss redevelopment project in Bywater [WDSU]
· Where the Walls Do Talk [New York Times]