A LOOK AT NEW URBANISM IN NEW ORLEANS BY OCTAVIO NUIRY, MANAGING EDITOR
Where some see blight, developer Pres Kabacoff, envisions opportunity.
sustainable communities infused with new life into old cities.”
In “Revitalizing Cities: The HRI Vision,” (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press), by Pres Kabacoff, Eddie B. Boettner, Tom Leonhard and James P. Farwell, the authors tell an illuminating story of one of America’s most innovative real estate development companies. Kabacoff, the co-founder of HRI Properties, is New Orleans’ most active and politically connected developers, and his development company, Historic Restoration Inc., is a prominent proponent of New Urbanism, focusing on “inner- city revitalization.” His company has transformed some of the city’s most significant 19th and 20th century buildings into New Urbanism gems. Kabacoff’s development company, a pioneer in developing historic preservation projects and mixed-income housing in New Orleans, has been involved in some of the city’s largest developments, starting in 1984 with the Louisiana World Exposition to demolition and redevelopment of the St. Thomas housing project. Started in 1982 by Edward B. Boettner and Kabacoff, HRI Properties is a new wave of muscular developers who say their work is more than just renovating and preserving old buildings; It is about reshaping viable neighborhoods into “diverse, vibrant,
The book is organized into 17 case studies, featuring the company’s highest profile developments. The majority of developments presented in the book were done in New Orleans, with three case studies located in St. Louis, Dallas and Jackson, Mississippi. Federal Fibre Mills One of the first preservation projects the firm launched was the conversion of the Federal Fibre Mills building in the Warehouse District into apartments, later converted into condominiums in the mid- 1980s. HRI Properties recognized early on the importance of preserving historic buildings in the Warehouse District. In 1982, HRI Properties purchased the Federal Fibre Mills building. During the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, the building was modified to allow a monorail to carry passengers into a popular German beer garden inside the building. After the exhibition ended, local developer Jerry Decks brought in Merrill Lynch, and the HRI Properties team turned the building into apartments. Built in 1907, the Federal Fibre Mills building was a rope manufacturing plant. The conversion of the Federal Fibre Mills into 132 luxury condominiums in 1985 sparked the transformation of the
Revitalizing Cities: The HRI VIsion By Pres Kabacoff, Eddie B. Boettner, Tom Leonhard and James P. Farwell
About the Author
In 1982, Edward B. Boettner (1933-2000) and Pres Kabacoff, founded Historic Restoration Inc., now known as HRI Properties, dedicated to the pursuit of rebuilding neighborhoods and recreating entire communities. Prior to founding HRI, Kabacoff practiced real estate law and served as assistant to the managing partner of International River Center.
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