Gary Wheat Email, May 5, 2016
Subject: Illegal Demolition by Neglect: "Habana Cafe?" or "Habana Decay?"
Attached (below) are pictures of the property at the corner of Esplanade Ave and N. Rampart Street. This is the property that has applied to become "Habana Cafe".
For the last 3 years it's been better known here in our neighborhood as "Habana Decay", as these photos clearly depict.
In these photos you see that today a large portion of the roof fell off the building, and landed within the perimeter of the RTA Bus Stop. Hopefully no innocent bystanders were injured in the process.
The continued decay and deterioration of this building is emblematic of this owner's disrespect for rules, regulations, and public safety. And yet he expects the City and his neighbors to believe him when he says that he's "a good guy", an upstanding citizen.
This is one of the most obvious examples of DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT in recent memory in the French Quarter, and it's all happened under your watch, dear Council members, and under the watch of your VCC Staff, with no one from the city doing anything to prevent this travesty.
Please, now is the time to do SOMETHING to hold this property owner responsible for the life-endangering conditions that he has allowed to fester at his property.
Habana Outpost's potential impact on neighborhood
Latest Habana Outpost News - May 2015
Update on Habana Outpost property
Just a quick update on the property at Rampart & Esplanade Ave. that the city is considering for approval for a non-conforming commercial operation in the French Quarter:
The current property owner, an out-of-town businessman who asks everyone to believe that he will open a business at this location and be a good corporate citizen and a good neighbor to the surrounding residential property owners has in fact given us all the finger by allowing his property to deteriorate to the point that it is now a haven for the homeless.
Thanks Habana Outpost!
Letter to City Council
Good afternoon District C Council Member Palmer and all City Council Members:
My name is Gary Wheat. My partner and I live in the 1000 block of Esplanade Ave. We are very concerned about the negative impact that the proposed "Habana Outpost" could have on our community and ultimately on the French Quarter as a whole.
Sadly, at a VCC committee meeting that I attended a while ago the disconnected attitudes, non-attention to detail, and nonchalant body language of many of the VCC Commissioners gave the appearance that all of our protests and concerns voiced to them would be for naught. Based on the VCC's actions, whether it is true or not, many of this area's tax-paying homeowners believe that the VCC has ignored our concerns and their hearings were nothing more than a charade, held to consummate a "done deal".
Rather than act to protect the French Quarter from an unwanted, non-conforming and ill-suited development, it seems that the VCC has acted to "rubber stamp" this proposed entertainment venue for whatever reasons. Folks are left wondering why? Perhaps in order to help increase city tax revenue? To help jump-start commercial development along Rampart Street? To please and appease the masses of non-French Quarter folks that Habana Outpost's out-of-town owner recruited to pack the VCC meetings? Whatever their underlying motivations, in this case, the VCC has not followed its mission of acting in the best interest of the French Quarter.
This neighborhood doesn't need or want a loud, over amplified, crowded outdoor sandwich shop inserted into our midst. Any local resident or tourist who feels the need for that setting can walk a few blocks over to Bourbon Street if that's their idea of a good time.
Our unique and tranquil neighborhood is the main entryway into the residential section of the lower French Quarter. It deserves to be protected, not invaded and exploited by an out-of-state chain restaurant that is famous for specializing in crowded outdoor events at its New York City locations. This neighborhood is too important to the historic fabric of the French Quarter to turn it into another "honky-tonk zone" like the noisy blocks of Bourbon Street.
We beg you as our elected representatives to please join us by taking a stand against this outside effort to destroy yet another residential section of the French Quarter. Preserving the Quarter is more important than approving another venue that would sell cheap food and drinks to go.
1004 Esplanade Ave
View Habana Outpost Plans
To All Neighborhoods Affected by the Proposed Habana Outpost
Re: Habana Outpost, 1036 - 40 Esplanade Ave., Developer - Sean Meenan
The proposed development at the corner of Rampart and Esplanade Ave. is the subject of great concern for our surrounding neighborhoods. The following outline is provided to illustrate just a few of the many concerns associated with this proposed project. For a visual model of the proposed project, go to www.cafehabana.com and click on Brooklyn.
- Full Service Restaurant – This is what the developer is proposing which would include food and alcohol; however, he has failed to illustrate their method of complying with the regulations that comprise the term " Full Service Restaurant." In addition, the possibility of the business being open "24 hours" was discussed. Service of the second floor could affect the design of the building and is incomplete.
- Scale - the developer is attempting to re-subdivide two parcels of land into one along with a "change of use" provision thereby allowing all vacant space to be used as a restaurant. The scale is too large for the neighborhood.
- Density - As of 10-09-12, the proposed project has a proposed capacity of 417 people; however, the capacity level has the potential to increase significantly depending on the seating configuration for different events.
- Parking - No Additional Parking is provided. This will have a tremendous impact on all of the surrounding neighborhoods. Besides contributing additional traffic to an already congested area, freight zones may take up scarce parking and have not been identified.
- Noise, Outdoor Music, Movie Night, Outdoor Vendors - Open air entertainment will impact the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Incomplete Architectural Plans - The project is conceptual; however, the developer is requesting Vieux Carre' Architectural Review Committee approval with the "DETAILS" to be provided after approval.
- Trash and Blocked Sidewalks - Safety hazards for pedestrians. No on-site location is identified for trash containers.
- Impact of Quality of Life - The proposed project has the potential to negatively impact the quality of life for the residents of several neighborhoods. It does not respect any of them.
We are requesting your support in opposing the proposed Habana Outpost project in an effort to preserve the quality of life for our families, friends and neighbors.