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Developer fights for $35M ‘co-living’ and entertainment complex in CBD, while residents voice opposition

Developer Marcel Wisznia has walked a fine political line over the past two years while trying to win the needed approvals for his planned $35 million “co-living” apartment complex near Lee Circle.

But in a Central Business District neighborhood currently undergoing a building boom, his bid to pair the shared-housing project, named Two Saints, with a high-end, bowling-focused entertainment-and-restaurant operation has met resistance from nearby residents.

Wisznia’s plan for the 140,000-square-foot development at St. Joseph Street and St. Charles Avenue consists of turning a surface parking lot and two well-worn townhouses into residences where people will rent private bedrooms and share common areas such as kitchens.

The Two Saints project’s feasibility is also dependent, he has said, on the approval of a viable retail tenant for 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. He wants that tenant to be a high-end food-and-entertainment outfit known as Punch Bowl Social, a fast-growing Denver-based chain with locations in Phoenix, Dallas and over a dozen other cities.



“You’ve got to look at change like this as positive, and it will enhance the neighborhood,” said Wisznia, noting that two gleaming new residential complexes on the same block also have large amounts of retail space. “I don’t think having surface parking lots in the middle of the city is the highest and best use. It just doesn’t make sense.”

But even after tamping down concerns related to the shared-living apartments, Wisznia and his team are encountering opposition from some residents to what they see as a

Article source: https://www.nola.com/news/business/article_9f092ad0-d59b-11e9-a27a-a71c9e6f787f.html

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