Located at the triangular lot defined by Magazine Street, St. Mary Street, and Sophie Wright Place, 1911 Magazine Street was built in the 1930’s as a WPA project for the New Orleans Public Market System. Known at the time as the “Magazine Street Market”, the building and surrounding site served as an open-air bazaar for the local neighborhood. Over the years, the building undertook multiple piece-meal renovations that enclosed many of the structure’s iconic architectural elements. The structure had fallen into disrepair, suffering significant deferred maintenance while the surrounding neighborhood and park equally deteriorated from declining interest and economic factors.
- Terri Dreyer
- Ian Dreyer
- Kristine Kobila
“NANO’s attention to detail throughout the entire duration of the project was incredible, and the building would not be the success it is without their involvement.” – Sarah Hall, President
In 2013, NANO was hired to assist with the historic tax credit applications and systems integration, but due to a variety of code-related requirements and an expanded desired scope, the owner hired NANO to take the project from mid-Schematic Design to project closeout and occupancy. Ultimately, the owner’s vision for the project was to reveal the structure’s inherent architectural details and associated amenities to transform the building into a full-service event venue.
Budget and aesthetic priorities were centered on uncovering the original historic elements, replacing primary mechanical systems, and creating an overall “destination” venue. For its intended use as an event space, restoring the building to its original condition while adapting it to its new use and maintaining eligibility for historic tax credits posed a unique challenge for the design team. The realities of historic renovations, mechanical upgrades, life safety issues, and budget drove the design team to suggest a phased approach with the inclusion of a future production kitchen to be allowed for spatially, but not completed during Phase 1.
Pricing offsets were discovered in a performance-based life safety solution that eliminated the requirement for fire suppression systems, that would have significantly impacted the stucco ceilings as well as typical installation costs. As a result, the owner was able to make substantial donations / improvements to the adjacent public park improving their own property as well as the neighborhood’s.
The building features an expansive private courtyard surrounding a roaring fireplace, an indoor ballroom, library, lounge, and commercial kitchen for hosting a variety of events.
Today, Il Mercato is a centerpiece for the Lower Garden District neighborhood resurgence with new businesses, commerce, and renovations occurring on all sides of the property, creating a placemaking area for the neighborhood.