Adaptive reuse construction in a historical building creates challenges no matter what city you happen to be in, but you know you’re in New Orleans when the client requests a Mardi Gras balcony on their St. Charles Avenue structure. This 22,625 SF barrel vault-ceiling warehouse and former 1950’s car dealership is being transformed into the headquarters for the New Orleans Advocate newspaper, as well as retail space, a large meeting and event area, and a welcoming main lobby. Highlights of the project include a complete build out of a second floor addition into private offices and the Mardi Gras balcony, renovation of the exterior façade and the addition of 13’ diameter, 17’ tall, steel and curved glass spiral main staircase visible from the street.
This project, as most at Palmisano do, started with a relationship. This one was between our CEO, Wes Palmisano, and the owner of the Advocate Newspaper, John Georges. A handshake means something at Palmisano, and Georges knew that to be true, so he believed it when we promised him we would work smarter to build this project better. Our approach was to create value through creative problem solving, and it worked. We were able to save the front facade of this architectural gem by installing a two story steel building that is invisible from the street. In this nifty package resides entertainment and retail space, newspaper and non-profit offices. We attempted to connect the past to the future seamlessly, building a time capsule that will carry Louisiana journalism into the future, the truth into the light.
“My wife, Dathel, and I bought The Advocate to keep it strong and maintain its historic role as a chronicler of the varied and rich life of south Louisiana. The new building is a symbol of our confidence in the future.”
– John Georges, Owner, The New Orleans Advocate
“The St. Charles Avenue structure was built in the early 1950s for Klein Motors, which sold cars made by the Kaiser-Frazer Corp…”
ENR Texas and Louisiana
We managed to create a space that serves the community in many ways. The Advocate holds the largest circulation of any local New Orleans newspaper, and its new home will enable it to keep doing its best work. The Family Foundation non-profit also moves into an inspiring new office in the building, and social gatherings and public events that serve the community will be held often in this previously vacant building. All along, we’ve managed to maintain this gem’s historic character, rejuvenating rather than crossing out an important part of New Orleans’ past.