Courtesy of Times-Picayune via :

“New Kind of Housing for Artists in the Arts District”

A new condo complex in the Warehouse District is attracting creative types from across the Crescent City.

Fifty units in the 61-unit St. Joe Lofts are reserved at discount prices for artists.

“In a way, the idea is art itself,” says one tenant.

The complex is the brainchild of Erik Beelman, who put plenty of personal blood, sweat and tears into his concept for the project. Beelman, who had a construction background […] was approached by some out-of-state developers on how to revive what had become a dormant project on the site of St. Joe.

The original developer had envisioned St. Joe as a haven for entrepreneurs, with the main tenant being the non-profit business incubator Idea Village. When Idea Village could not wait any longer for the St. Joe project to get off the ground, they moved in somewhere else.

“When that happened,” said Beelman, a graduate of Isidore Newman School, “I took a couple steps back and thought about it, thought about that area and what that area’s really about. It’s not just the Warehouse District but it’s the museum district, it’s the arts district and it has some unique characteristics that make it a very unique and special place, and St. Joe is a gem right in the heart of it.”

A block off Julia Street at 923 Constance, the complex is just a block from the Contemporary Arts Center; one of St. Joe’s buildings is next to the World War II museum.

Beelman also factored in a recent act of Congress that identified artists as a unique group with special needs when it comes to affordable housing.

“When I thought about that,” said Beelman, “I realized that this is where it needs to happen.”

Artists seeking to live at St. Joe must submit a working portfolio to a jury from the property management team, said Beelman.

“And it’s not just painters and visual artists. We have actors and actresses, someone in the culinary arts, and a couple of musicians.”

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