Uhhhh . . . Old Jefferson Libeskind-ed
Did anyone else fall out of their chair when they saw this rendering on the front page of today's Times-Picayune? This conceptual drawing is the current proposal for the re-development of the underutilized and out-dated Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center site in Old Jefferson. For years I've thought this site bound by Labarre Road, Causeway, River Road, and Jefferson Highway was among the most desirable for re-development and among the most squandered in the New Orleans area. I always envisioned a mixed-use development with commercial/retail likely including a modern grocery on the ground level along with residential ontop--maybe including a mid-level residential component or two (like maybe 10 stories or so).
Architect Daniel Libeskind's above design was not what I had in mind--and I am not completely against multiple floored residential buildings at this site unlike many residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Libeskind, of course, is the guy who designed the most lamely named Freedom Tower--at the World Trade Center site in New York City. (The Freedom Tower is going to be 1,776 feet tall because that's the year the Declaration of Independence was signed. Get it? In third year design if a student in my class would have said such a thing they would have been laughed at. In the bizarro world we live in, this thing at 1,776 feet is getting built.)
Going to be interesting to see how this all pans out. The pre-construction fences went up on part of this site nearly six months ago. According to Old Jefferson resident Hollis P. Wood the Frostop on the site was told they'd have to soon relocate at that time. The Daquairi place and pawn shop formerly on the site burned down to the ground in immediate post-KTMB days. Its amazed me that a galvenized effort opposing this re-development (granted that this is the first time a rendering has been made public to my knowledge) hasn't already been underway. I would think its about to kick into high gear and I've noticed "No Skyscrapers" signs beginning to appear along River Road in the the adjacent neighborhoods. I have a feeling parish government is going to let this project happen . . . .
19 NOVEMBER 2006 UPDATE: On Thursday, this project passed another hurdle towards becoming a reality as a request by the developer to merge several individual lots to form one large lot was endorsed by the Parish Planning Advisory Board.
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Old Jefferson, Libeskind, Jefferson Parish