Woodward Prepares Southern Hotel for Historic Restoration

20 February 2013

With the gutting of the historic Southern Hotel in downtown Covington nearing completion, the community eagerly awaits restoration of the building to its former glory. Woodward Design+Build is preparing for the historic restoration, aiming to complete the project in 10 months.

Historic Southern Hotel in Covington is Gutted to Prepare it for Restoration

The Times-Picayune

15 February 2013

By Kim Chatelain, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

With a contractor in place and the gutting of the historic Southern Hotel Building in downtown Covington nearing completion, the effort to restore the structure to its former glory is inching forward, according to one of the owners. Lisa Condrey Ward, who along with family members bought the former hotel in 2011, said they are waiting for state building permits to be issued before the project can proceed to the city’s permitting process.

Meanwhile, she said the 105-year-old structure at the corner of Boston and New Hampshire streets is being gutted to prepare it for inspections and restoration. “We are finishing up the demolition phase now,” she said. “We are moving forward.”

The owners, who purchased the former hotel for $1.75 million, plan to restore the building to its original use. Built in 1907, the Southern Hotel remained in business until the 1960s, when the facade was transformed slightly to accommodate a drug store tenant. In 1983, St. Tammany Parish bought the building and for 20 years used it as office space and courtrooms before selling it at auction for $885,500.

After Hurricane Katrina, it was used as a headquarters for the Red Cross and other federal agencies. For the last few years, the building has been mostly unoccupied.

Plans call for the hotel to have about 40 guest rooms, a ballroom, conference rooms, a restaurant and an upscale bar. A landscaped courtyard will be at the center of the property.

Last October, the Covington Historical District Commission approved renovation plans. New Orleans-based Trapolin-Peer Architects, which specializes in historic preservation, is designing project. The firm has worked on several New Orleans historic projects, including Emeril’s Delmonico on St. Charles Avenue, the Audubon Hotel and the City Park Carousel. Woodward Construction of New Orleans has been brought on as the general contractor.

The owners had targeted the fall of 2013 for the re-opening of the hotel. Ward said the construction phase will likely take about 10 months, putting that target date somewhat in question. “I’m still hopeful,” she said, “assuming we won’t have any hiccups.”

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