Up in the Air in New Orleans

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 14, 2005

Sean Cummings, a real estate developer and hotel operator in New Orleans, says the future of his storm-ravaged city is up in the air, not uncertain, mind you, literally, up in the air. Cummings says the flooding will only encourage a trend begun before Katrina of New Orleans residents moving to high-rise residential towers. Cummings has a 60-story, $15 million apartment complex in the Bywater neighborhood near downtown already financed. He hopes to break ground next year. “No one’s having second thoughts,” he says. “You have a whole lot of displaced people who need a place to live and who will rethink the type of housing that they have. I wouldn’t be surprise to see whites, blacks, Hispanics, Vietnamese, every bit of New Orleans considering alternatives other than single family homes in low-lying areas.” Cummings says the hurricane may also jump start efforts to create a new convention center, performing arts center, football stadium and city hall in the Crescent City. “New Orleans is an American icon,” he says. “I don’t think there is a city in the nation where Americans have a greater love affair. That’s true with an exclamation point for people who call it home.”

Reader Comments

albert Dussault

September 15, 2005 11:35 AM

I amnew to the new orleans scene. My daughter just moved to Hammond to take a position at the unversity and I was prompted to buy a cond in the city. I found one that, from what I hear did not go underwater, It is uptown and to the left of St. Charles Avenue. Do supposethat the property that did not go underwater will become more valuable just from it;s position on the rim of the bowl

julie Duvic

September 15, 2007 5:03 AM

Well, 60 stories in the Bywater area is a shocking change of scale. Although I've lived in Los Angeles for many years( a vast morass of unplaning) I still answer the question of where I'm from as New Orleans...5 generations. My great grandparents house on Bayou St. John did not flood, although just a few blocks away from the City Park deluge. The footprint of where New Orleans was first settled, and what did not have major flooding is almost identical. I understand the need to build along the riverfront or historical bayou areas( Metairie Road was once a bayou), but 60 stories in a residential historical area??? I'm sure there are many financial issues, but the scale is wrong. Tribeca NYC put in height regulations, and has become a thriving residential and commercial area in one of the most densely populated US cities. jd

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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