New industrial developments back on the move in Covington!

New industrial developments back on the move in Covington!

Mele Printing is excited to announce the expansion of their current facilities and fulfillment services with the construction of a new 18,791-square-foot facility. The property will be situated on the opposite corner of their current facility on West 26th Avenue and according to Mr. Mallery Mele, owner/CEO, “We will now have the capacity to store over 1,500 pallets of customer products. This will more than double our current capacity which will allow us to grow our business and take care of our customer’s needs for the next 10 years.” Construction will commence early this month on the warehouse facility that will be completely climate controlled.

Another new construction development worth mentioning is a 30,075-square-foot, built-to-suit office warehouse facility on the north side of Northpointe Court. Northpointe Business Park is located just northwest of Highway 1077 and Highway 1085 intersection near Archbishop Hannan Highschool. While the proposed use is still undisclosed, the metal framed building features 24’ eave heights, recessed truck wells and multiple overhead doors. The facility is located next door to new Fed-Ex distribution facility. Bert Duvic with Max J. Derbes, Inc. brokered the deal.
-Sergio Mesa


New Hotel Development in New Orleans Shines a Spotlight on the Future

The New Orleans City Council recently overrode City Planning Commission to approve the proposed ground-up construction of a 14 story Virgin Hotel. The Planning Commission denied the proposal based on a requested variance to exceed the zoning’s allowed height by 23 feet. The proposed hotel will be located at 550 Baronne Street in the CBD. The hotel has an estimated development budget of $55M and will include 183 rooms, a roof top poor and bar, a ground floor restaurant, a ball room, meeting spaces and fitness center. Parking will be accommodated in a nearby 596 space garage currently under construction.

Virgin Hotels and Virgin Airlines are owned by billionaire Richard Branson. The City Council’s approval was influenced in part by a push to attract Virgin Airlines to New Orleans’ airport.

The Virgin Hotel approval comes on the heels of the recently publically announced early 2016 opening of The Ace Hotel at 600 Carondelet Street. The Ace Hotel brand is a boutique-style property that will feature 234 rooms. Ace Hotels are located in seven other cities including London, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Panama.

Local developers and investors are also making waves in new hotel development. A former sugar warehouse located at 111 Iberville Street in the French Quarter, in the parking lot adjacent to Canal Place, will be converted to an approximately 80 room luxury hotel under local ownership. This will be the first new hotel in the French Quarter since a moratorium was enacted in 1969 that has prevented new hotel development.

These three new hotel developments will add close to 500 rooms to the New Orleans hotel inventory. Several other developments that have yet to be made public could add hundreds more rooms to the New Orleans market, which has blossomed into one of the top hotel markets in the U.S.

In addition to these new hotel developments, there has been over a billion dollars in hotel transactions since 2010. The New Orleans market’s ability to attract outside capital is very positive signal that the overall health of the market is strong.

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Katrina recovery syncs with urban living trend, driving up New Orleans home prices


Katrina recovery syncs with urban living trend, driving up New Orleans home prices

Spoga Fitness Center

Spoga Fitness Club of Hammond is currently constructing a new location at 811 Fagan Drive, just west of The Hammond Square Shopping Center. Spoga has been located in their current downtown Hammond location for the past 15 years. According to their website co-owner Jeff Day said, “We’ve designed a new home for our members to continue to enjoy and benefit from. Our focus is to continue providing quality services, cutting-edge group fitness classes, nutritional coaching, and kids training programs, along with corporate wellness and individual fitness assessments to help people live a healthier lifestyle.”

The new location will include a 28,344 square foot fitness center on 3.63 acres. The building will be a one story with a mezzanine, steel frame structure with the exterior consisting of stacked stone and stucco walls along the front and sides with metal panels on the rear and a standing seam metal roof.  There will be a concrete parking lot for approximately 250 vehicles.

The first floor will be 25,368 square feet and contain a juice bar, pro shop, gymnasium, various training rooms, child care, locker rooms, a membership office, and restrooms. The mezzanine will contain 2,976 square feet above the locker room area for private training rooms, offices, meeting rooms, and restrooms. The new location is expected to be complete by fall of 2015. For additional information visit

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Club Deluxe Road Widening – Hammond, Louisiana

The widening of Club Deluxe Road, which has been discussed for years, is one major step closer to becoming reality. The Tangipahoa Parish Government is nearing the end of the right of way acquisition phase of the widening project. As of August 1st, 2015 approximately 98% of the right of way area has been acquired and 93% of the ownerships have settled. According to SJB Group, the engineering firm that has handled the acquisition, once the last parcel is acquired the next phase will be attaining construction quotes which will take roughly three months. The roadway is well overdue for an upgrade, one that will include removal of the narrow lanes and open ditch drainage with an installation of a curb and gutter drainage system. Furthermore, the two lane road will be widened to include a center turn lane. The current phase will run roughly 1.2 miles from South Morrison (US Highway 51 bypass) to just pass the Hammond Golf Center driving range. The right of way acquisition including the Parish purchasing 20’ on the north and south sides of Club Deluxe Road from most property owners.

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Retail Development Underway in Ponchatoula

The City of Ponchatoula has experienced a revival of retail development following the addition of WalMart on Highway 51. Currently, three retail facilities are under construction. The northeast corner of Highway 51 and Highway 22 being redeveloped with a new RaceTrac gas station and Taco Bell.  East of this intersection on Highway 22, a new First Guaranty Bank branch is under construction and should be completed by December 2015.  Given WalMart’s location on Highway 51, more growth is anticipated along Highway 51 north of Highway 22.

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Taco Bell / Racetrac Gas Station                                        First Guaranty Bank

Botanica Apartments In Mandeville Sell For $25,750,000

Botanic Apartments in Mandeville sold on June 2 for a price of $25,750,000. Botanica is a 228-unit complex located at 100 St. Ann Drive. The complex opened in 1998 and has an average occupancy rate of 95-96 percent. The buyer, AMG Botanica, is a New Orleans based company represented by Anthony Iarocci, Gary Solomon, and Brian Gibbs.
New Orleans-based AMG owns a number of upscale apartment complexes in the area. Plans are to spend approximately $4 million on improvements at Botanica after the sale, upgrading the interior of units and common areas.
The seller was Florida based Botanica Holdings represented by J. Ken Tate. The sales price equates to $112,939 per unit. The New Orleans office of Walker and Dunlop handled the $20.7 million financing.


Market Street Power Plant District


Local developers Daryl Berger and Joe Jaeger teamed up this past May announcing plans to develop the 47 acre parcel situated at the upriver end of the Morial Convention Center.  The team is currently in negotiations to lease the parcel from the Convention Center.  More recently, it was reported that Jaeger has begun the process of foreclosing on an adjoining 20 acre parcel which was home to the Market Street power plant and was once proposed for redevelopment anchored by a Bass Pro retail outlet. As assembled, the total parcel would have 67 acres located in one of the oldest developed neighborhoods of the country – right between the Warehouse and Garden Districts of New Orleans, along the Mississippi River.  Preliminary plans include the following:

  • 1,200 room convention hotel
  • 250,000 square feet of retail space
  • 50,000 square feet of office
  • 75,000 square foot theater
  • 290,000 square foot educational component
  • 1,500,000 square feet of residential space with over 1,000 units comprised of a mix of apartments, luxury condominiums and townhomes.

Such a development would have a profound impact on the immediate and surrounding areas and would certainly serve as a catalyst for continued growth and redevelopment in the regional market area.

-William Summerour


William Summerour appointed to Regional Loan Corporation Board


Our own William Summerour has been appointed to the Board of the Regional Loan Corporation

The Regional Loan Corporation is a private non-profit organization that manages several government-sponsored financing programs for small business growth. The RLC collaborates with area banks to support regional economic development.

Congrats William!

Mid-City Mixed-Use Redevelopment


A group of local developers recently closed on a former industrial laundry facility in the Mid-City neighborhood, just off of Broad Avenue. The structure has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina and was acquired in late July for mixed-use redevelopment. The Tulane Industrial Laundry building located at 2606 St. Louis Street, around the corner from the Mid-City Whole Foods, was acquired after spending more than a year listed on the open market. The historic tax credit driven proposed upscale re-development will include fourteen 1-bedroom apartment units and two ground floor spaces expected to be occupied by restaurant tenants.

The property is located across from the proposed Laffite Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, a block off of Broad Avenue. The proposed plans will include a 1,575 square foot rooftop terrace for residential tenants and 2,372 square feet of outdoor dining / porch space for restaurant patrons.  Each of the fourteen residential units will be 1-bedroom with an average unit size of 816 square feet. The two ground floor units will be built out as vanilla box space to accommodate restaurant tenants although no long term leases are currently secured.  The redevelopment will also include a covered parking area with 18 lined spaces. The developers are expecting to have the project complete by April 2016.

-Blake Ridings

Port Marigny Project – Mandeville



The first views of the mixed use Port Marigny Project in Mandeville were released this week.   The project involves converting the 78-acre pre-stress concrete site on the Mandeville’s lakefront into a residential and commercial community. The Mandeville City Council should have a final vote on the project by the end of the year. The main concern so far seems to be increased traffic.

Residential plans call for 192 apartments,  57 cottages,  52 single-family village homes,  52 townhouses,  48 single-family neighborhood homes,  28 condominium units.

Commercial improvements will include a 120-room hotel adjacent to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway along with a marina with 150 boats slips able to accommodate boats of up to 55 feet.  There would be also be 60,000 square-feet of retail and office space.

New Legislation Causes Wetland Mitigation Cost to Rise


The I-12 Corridor has seen a glut of new developments over the past two years. The majority of these developments include single-family residential subdivisions as housing demand has returned from the lows during the national recession. Wetland mitigation is a barrier and has always been a costly and timely expense.

In December 2014, State Representative Steve Scalise stated, “The Modified Charleston Method (MCM) is a radical environmental regulation that stunts economic development in Louisiana.” This method was used by the New Orleans Army Corps of Engineers to determine the number of credits needed for wetland mitigation purposes. In some instances, the MCM increased wetland cost from $6,000 per acre to over $40,000 per acre and made many south Louisiana developments such as single-family subdivisions not financially feasible.

In 2015, Legislation was passed to ban the MCM and the deadline to find a replacement assessment is September 30, 2015. The New Orleans District’s plan to address this revision consist of two phases: Interim Assessment Protocol and Long-Term Assessment Protocol. The Interim Assessment utilizes a Ratio Matrix to determine the appropriate compensatory mitigation for wetland impacts. The matrix is based on the habitat quality of impacted wetlands (low to high) and the type of mitigation (re-establishment, rehabilitation, and enhancement).

According to Mr. Mike Henry with Hydrik Wetland Consulting in Hammond, Louisiana, this interim model has more than doubled the mitigation cost. The Army Corps of Engineers typically rate all forested sites as a high habitat quality and the cost is currently over $80,000 per acre in the St. Tammany mitigation bank.

While this is only the interim cost, Mr. Henry did believe a new model will ultimately lower mitigation cost. But this cost is unknown at this time. The Army Corps long-term assessment noted, “Agency coordination and public input will be key components in the path forward to establishing an assessment method to replace the Modified Charleston Method.”

We will have to wait until September 30, 2015 to determine if wetland mitigation and economic development can coexist.

– Ashton W. Ray,  MAI


New Business Park Planned in Covington at I-12 and 190



versaillesGulf States Real Estate Services has completed the acquisition land needed to develop the Versailles Business Park in Covington. Developers are planning 16 different lots, which will include residential, medical offices and hospitals. The 2 parcels needed for the park were recently acquired and one of the lots has already been sold to Honda of Covington. The construction of the infrastructure will begin shortly.

Murphy Appraisal Services Summer Picnic

Lots of fun in the sun.  Hope everyone had a good time.

Please join Murphy Appraisal Services in supporting our wounded war heroes at the Inaugural Wounded War Heroes Fundraising Banquet


Congratulations Ashton!

Our own Ashton Ray has received the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute.  This is the highest designation in our profession. Crongrats!

mai        Ashton W. Ray,  MAI