A New Orleans Lakefront Condo Under Controversy

The Pearl condominium, a planned new residential development on the Old Basin Canal in New Orleans, has some flooding concerns. The West End development is being proposed by Oceana USA LLC and is located on South Roadway Street across from the Municipal Yacht Harbor.

The project will be on a segment of the New Basin Canal that is north of the Sewerage & Water Board’s Pump Station 12. This puts the development outside the lakefront hurricane levee. The original project was to be 15 stories but was revamped to six floors of condos, parking, and amenity space. The larger and smaller concept of the project needs 800 cubic yards of fill material to be added to the canal. This means that part of the building and its balconies would be built on what is current canal water.

This is why many such as the Lakeshore Property Owners’ Association, the Municipal Yacht Harbor Management Corp. and the Southern Yacht Club, as well as several tenants of nearby boathouses, are concerned with this project going forward. If they were to fill 800 cubic yards of the canal, this would make it more narrow increasing the potential of flooding boathouses and businesses that surround the project.

The canal is very important when it comes to rainfall runoff. In fact, it serves as the outlet for rainfall runoff pumped from about 1,600 acres of the Lakeview neighborhood by Pump Station 12, and if the pump station is operating during high tides, the narrowing of the waterway could cause water levels to rise a foot or more.

Oceana defends its project saying the canal would not increase water heights high enough for concern. The engineering firm that is working for Oceana points out that the canal is only 165 feet long and the water level raised in the area would only be around 10 inches. Changes would be unnoticeable in other parts of the harbor and the lake.

“While we generally support future development in our city, our utmost priority is to protect our canals from any potential negative impacts that may diminish our ability to pump storm water,” S&WB Executive Director Ghassan Korban said.

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