With a $50 million facelift for the Saenger Theater scheduled to resume this month, controversy is swirling over plans for the former La Salle Hotel, the vacant structure that shares a roofline and a facade with the iconic Canal Street playhouse. A nonprofit affordable-housing developer has a purchase agreement for the four-story building at 1113 Canal St. and plans to invest $11.6 million in a restoration.
But the proposal to bring 33 affordable rental units and street-level retail space to the site by North Carolina-based Reliance Housing Foundationrecently prompted opposition from three City Council members, the head of the Downtown Development District and the president of the city agency overseeing the Saenger renovation.
The blowback came in the form of strongly worded letters sent in October to the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, which was considering a request from Reliance Housing for more than $900,000 in state tax credits. The state agency approved the application two weeks ago.