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As a community starts to thrive and grow, more and more businesses and residents move into the area.  Along with new growth, comes new buildings and homes in the community. What about the existing buildings in the area that might have lost their tenants due to previous lack of growth?  An existing building is a perfect place for future business owners to begin a new business.  Adaptive reuse, the process of reusing an old site or building for a different or new business, is a great way to bring new life into an old building.

One community that is booming with growth along the Northshore in the New Orleans area is Mandeville. Barrett and Jill McGuire, of McGuire Real Estate Group, are using adaptive reuse at two sites in Mandeville. Rest Awhile is currently underway and is now a restaurant complex and Band’s Food Store’s old building is currently under review to become a restaurant in Old Mandeville.

Currently under way, is the Rest Awhile restaurant complex.  Originally the restawhileRest Awhile building was the Frapart Hotel in the 1800’s which later became a retreat house for those in need. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the building was left abandoned and now the project is preserving the old building into a sit-down restaurant.  Two other buildings on the site include the Hadden Cottage, which plans to be a coffee and tapas bar and the Sophie B. Wright Cottage which plans to be a tavern.

The McGuire’s second project is close to Barrett’s heart. Band’s Food Store, inbandsfoodstore Old Mandeville, was built in the 1940’s and served Old Mandeville for decades.  As a young boy, McGuire remembers sweeping the parking lot of the grocery store, located at Lafitte and Monroe, to earn money to buy baseball cards.  The couple purchased the site for $275,000 and hope to turn the building into a restaurant.  McGuire says they are focusing on “a lunch counter concept at this point” and as for the name, “we haven’t gotten that far yet,” he said.

Adaptive reuse is not only a smart and green way to reuse current buildings, but is also a great way to preserve a community’s memories and history. As for the McGuire’s belief on conserving the old grocery store site, “It’s a great little place. It deserves to be put back into commerce,” he said.

 

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The economy and housing market are the strongest they have been in the past 10 years.  As the housing market and economy thrive so does the ever-changing communities throughout the country.  St. Tammany Economic Development District wants to evolve with the ever-changing market.

The St. Tammany Economic Development District is the forefront of St. Tammany’s economy. As stated on their site, the agency’s objective is to “seek to preserve and promote the quality of life by strengthening and supporting vibrant economies.” Businesses and Residence can follow the community’s economic development, successes and future opportunities found throughout St. Tammany via the agency.

St. Tammany is a great area to both live and work.  With the low cost of living and the strong business climate, the parish is on a growing trend and is home to industries that include advanced manufacturing, corporate headquarter offices, distribution and logistics, oil and gas, information technology, and healthcare and biosciences. The current population of 255,000 and civilian labor force of over 126,000 keeps this strong economy going.

Along with the growth comes competition with other attractive communities throughout the state and the country. Chris Masingill, who leads the St. Tammany Economic Development District, announced a plan to attract and keep businesses in St. Tammany Parish to the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, November 10, 2018, at a breakfast held at Tchefuncta Country Club. First on the agenda is to rebrand St. Tammany Economic Development sttammanycorpDistrict with a name change to “St. Tammany Corp.” and a new logo.

Masingill explained that along with the name change, the St. Tammany Corp. will have a new framework for how it handles business in the Parish. They will focus on many factors which include how the Parish’s various communities interact with each other to the role of government and tax incentives in economic development.

“This is not just an academic exercise,” Masingill said. “We’re looking at everything.”

A study will be conducted on how the agency wants to expand its “regional reach.” Masingill wants to establish a good working relationship with other agencies in the Parish, the economic development group Greater New Orleans Inc. and even over state lines.  The plan for the new framework is slated to be completed by year’s end.

 

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Owning a home in a waterfront community in St. Tammany Parish is a wonderful experience. Having access to a river or a lake provides a peaceful and restful environment that is also kind of freeing, especially if you are a “water person.” With the environment of a river or lake also comes the lush vegetation and wildlife, such as water fowl,1657 Ox Bow Sitting Area turtles, and frogs. There is just a different kind of feel and sound when living on or near the water.

Being near the water also allows a homeowner to be able to enjoy recreational activities, such as water sports, boating, canoeing, swimming, floating, and fishing. Many waterfront communities also carve out walking or hiking paths around the water area for residents to enjoy. Having a home with a water view is also a tremendous advantage, both while you are living there and also as a benefit of selling your home.

Homes in waterfront communities tend to come at a higher price range because the lot on which they are built are often priced higher because they are a prized commodity.  With the right care and attention, a home on the water can be an incredible real estate investment.

Homeowners of waterfront homes must be sure to look out for damage that can be done to a home because it is located on or near the water. Problems caused by moisture in the air such as mold, degradation of stone, metal or wood, bug issues, and water intrusion can take a toll on the quality building of a new home for sale. Staying on top of the maintenance of your home by painting and sealing the exterior of your home often, keeping a current termite contract, and investing in sturdy building materials to begin with can go a long way in ensuring that your home stays in good shape both for you and your family and for if or when you ever decide to sell.

Ron Lee Homes is now offering a new, custom home for sale in a waterfront community in Covington, Louisiana, in River Club. This new home is just a brief walk down the street to an extensive boat dock, boardwalk, and pavilion on river. If you haven’t yet had the chance to tour this new community or our new home for sale, Contact Us at 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com to schedule your private tour today!

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OPEN HOUSE AT 1657 OX BOW LANE

1657 Ox Bow Gorgeous Modern Farmhouse

OPEN HOUSE APRIL 22, 2018
12:00PM (NOON) – 4:00PM

 

1657 OX BOW LANE
COVINGTON, LA 70433

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NEW, CUSTOM HOME FOR SALE!

 

OPEN HOUSE AT 1657 OX BOW LANE

1657 Ox Bow Gorgeous Modern Farmhouse

OPEN HOUSE APRIL 21, 2018
12:00PM (NOON) – 2:00PM

 

1657 OX BOW LANE
COVINGTON, LA 70433

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NEW, CUSTOM HOME FOR SALE!

 

Best Master BathClick Here for Information About This Home.

SATURDAY OPEN HOUSE FOR RON LEE HOMES

TOUR OUR MOST RECENT PARADE OF HOMES HOUSE AT RIVER CLUB!

WINNER OF 2017 NORTHSHORE PARADE OF HOMES
REALTORS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST OVERALL FLOORPLAN
BEST MASTER BATH

When: Saturday, April 14, 2018
12:00PM (Noon) – 4:00PM

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO & INFORMATION ABOUT RIVER CLUB!

 

 

OPEN HOUSE IN MAISON DU LAC!1-Lot 127 Maison du Lac Front Exterior

886 S. Corniche du Lac
Covington, LA 70433

Saturday, December 16, 2017
1PM – 3PM

Click Here for More Information About This New, Custom Home for Sale!

 

One of the biggest challenges facing builders and people selling their homes in St. Tammany Parish and Southeast Louisiana are the appraisals that are given for the homes for sale and built new homes.  Recently, in the last few years, laws were established requiring banks and mortgage companies to choose appraisers from a universal list, giving each appraiser an equal amount of work. However, because appraisers are not required to go throughAppraisals intensive training and maintain continuing education, some appraisals that were turned in to the banks and mortgage companies fell far below what the perceived value of the house was.

This causes a problem for the closing process in that the loan amount is often more than the house is worth, according the appraiser.  The appraisal process for a home for sale or new home for sale in a new neighborhood or in a rural part of St. Tammany Parish, where there aren’t a lot of “comps” (comparisons of homes previously sold in the area) can be a stressful one for a home buyer looking to buy a new home or existing home for sale, unless it is a cash sale.  The appraisal dictates to the mortgage company or the bank how much the loan amount can be based upon the value of the house and / or the down payment of the buyer.

“An appraisal can vastly impact the mortgage process. This number alone can impact how much a buyer needs to bring to closing, or the current equity a homeowner has when refinancing,” said Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans Executive Vice President of Capital Markets. “If homeowners are aware of local home values and how they are changing, it will assist with a smoother mortgage process.”

However, there is good news for the real estate industry, the distance (difference) between the amount of the appraisal and new home and existing home prices has narrowed for 4 months in a row according to the National Quicken Loans home Price Perception Index (HPPI). Appraised values are still falling short of home prices, but the most recently logged margin during the month of September was 1.14%. This is good news for builders looking to sell their homes (and have them appraise) at market value.

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Located between N. Columbia Street and N. Florida Street is a slight street in Covington, Louisiana’s downtown district named Hotel Alley.  Streets in the historic district of Covington, formerly known as Division of St. John, are laid out in unique patterns of squares within squares called ox lots. This peculiar design is how the downtown district got placement on the National register of Historic Places in 1981.  The main streets, laid out horizontally, are accessed by alleyways.  That is how this particular street – Hotel Alley – came to be named.  Now, the St. TammanyArt Alley Covington Art Market Art Association is planning on completely “renovating the street,” and renaming it: Art Alley.

Art Alley, currently a strip of asphalt, will be getting a new look, complete with cafe-style lighting overhead, connecting between the Art Association’s Art House and the H.J. Smith & Sons General Store and Museum; a lit-entry archway, a mural, and removable bollards to close off the street for special events. The special event, which will benefit from this street renovation is the Covington Art Market.  This year’s Covington Art Market will be held on October 7, 2017, from 9am – 1pm at the new Art Alley location.  Formerly located at the Covington Trailhead, the October Art Market will feature artists: Susan Carver, Wess Foreman, Julie Katich, Richard Lo Piccolo, Linda McNeely, Jeffrey Minzey, Ruth Ostarly, Allison Radtke, Jason Ronquillo, Kristy Ruffino, Robert Wagner and Chuck Wright.

“Throughout the United States, cities of all sizes are embracing what’s known as ‘Creative Placemaking,’ the art of transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary places that promote a sense of community, spark commerce and enhance areas by creating cultural hubs of activity,” said Kim Bergeron, STAA’s executive director.

The October Covington Art Market is also doing something a little different.  They are partnering with American Art Therapy Association and the South Texas Art Therapy Association to provide hurricane relief efforts to children affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The visitors of the Art Market can contribute to an art supply drive which will then be donated to those children in need. The effort is being spearheaded by Jaclyn Warren MS, ATR-BC, a STAA Artist Advisory Board member and president of the Louisiana Art Therapy Association. Colored pencils, crayons, cay-pas, unruled journals and sketchpads, and coloring books are just some of the supplies that can be donated.

“We hope the community sees the possibilities that Art Alley offers and embraces our efforts to bring that vision to reality,” Bergeron said. “And, of course, a visit to the art market is an opportunity to discover new talents and to celebrate our community’s artists.”

For more information, call 985.892.8650 or visit www.sttammanyartassociation.org.

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In the Greater New Orleans area, holiday celebrations abound and are also a very popular tourist attraction.  However, here locally in St. Tammany Parish, there are a few events that always draw a huge crowd and are anticipated by the residents of St. Tammany Parish every holiday season.

For those who call St. Tammany Parish home, they have always looked forward to the Holiday of Lights celebrationHoliday of Lights Cancelled at the Tammany Trace Trailhead on Koop Drive in the city of Mandeville.  Unfortunately, this will not be the case come holiday season this year.  Pat Brister, President of St. Tammany Parish government, informed residents that the two-weekend holiday celebration will be cancelled due to the lack of funds.

This free annual event was enjoyed by residents for 17 years and featured entertainment by local schools, musical and theater performances, caroling, carnival rides, pictures with Santa and a tour of the holiday lights display in the Koop Drive campus. The St. Tammany Parish government was one of two sponsors which Holiday of Lights in St. Tammany Parishfunded the annual event that reportedly cost the parish $75,000 each season.

While this sad news might come as a surprise to the community, parish officials anticipated it as a cut to the St. Tammany Parish operating budget for 2018 which forecasts an $18 million-dollar revenue shortfall. The parish feels there is no way around the budget cut which stems from the failed attempt to renew sales taxes linked to the jail and courthouse.

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