There have been cycles in the destruction of St. Charles Avenue, and we may be on the brink of a new one.
The city’s most famous boulevard was once largely residential almost all the way from Uptown to Lee Circle, though you wouldn’t know it from the proliferation of Burger Kings and Speedy Oil Change outlets, banks and the Office Depot that dominate the stretch downtown of Jackson Avenue.
Designation as an historic district brought the more wanton kinds of commercialization under control, and what’s left seems likely to remain residential. But that doesn’t mean destruction of the old housing stock has stopped.
The most recent high-profile demolition – a Mediterranean-style mansion designed by architectural luminary Emile Weil – fell to the wrecking ball earlier this year after a futile five-year campaign by preservationists. A McMansion is slated to rise in its place. But at least it will be a single-family home, preservationists note, not the apartment complex that was initially touted.
Now comes another proposed demolition, seven blocks farther downtown. This one, a 6,700-sq.-ft. manse of tile-trimmed yellow stucco, is at the corner of Valence Street, surrounded by some of the highest-priced residences in the city.
The applicant for a permit to destroy it, Crescent Road LLC, lists a Baton Rouge residence as its business address.
The property, last sold in 2008 for $825,000, has a sale-pending sign out front. A local real estate website indicates that it’s no longer on the market but describes the place in some detail. Whether the demolition permit is a condition of sale is uncertain.
Crescent Road’s plan calls for a one-family story building “value in excess of $400,000”
The Neighborhood Conservation District Committee will hear the request at its bi-weekly meeting at 2 p.m. Aug. 20 in City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Do two demolitions mark the beginning of a trend? We’ll see.