The proposed St. Charles Avenue mansion was designed by architect Ken Tate.

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens opinion writer |

In 2007 liquor magnate William Goldring applied to the City Planning Commission for a zoning change at 5428 St. Charles Avenue.

He proposed to tear down the stately four-unit residence and replace it with 13 luxury condos in a four-story structure built above a parking garage. Actually, the zoning change he sought (RM-4) would have provided Goldring with generous wiggle room: an opportunity to build up to 26 residential units with essentially no height limit.

The 1928 building targeted for destruction was designed by Emile Weil.

Neighbors and preservationists were appalled. Not only did Goldring’s plan entail destruction of a mansion designed by Emile Weil and built in 1928, it was a first assault on strict zoning enacted a half-century later to prevent upper St. Charles Avenue from going the way of the hodge-podge of fast-food outlets and cheapo apartment complexes farther downtown.

The City Planning Commission shot down the project, and plans for an appeal  to the City Council were scuttled – but Goldring didn’t go away.

Now his son Jeffery Goldring is seeking permission to tear down the Weil mansion and replace it with a McMausoleum of a home.

The drawings accompanying the application to the Planning Commission show what appears to be a two-story structure, designed by architect Ken Tate. The application asks: “Does the proposed structure meet the zoning requirements?” The “yes” box has been checked, but a footnote has been penciled in below the box: “height variance shall be requested.”

The Neighborhood Conservation District Committee will hear the demolition request on Sept. 6.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...