Jun 20, 2013 11:39 PM by Erin Steuber

Differing Opinions About Downtown Housing

There's a growing push to expand housing in Downtown Lafayette, and already some progress. A new complex called the Uptown Lofts opened downtown in February located off Congress, near the Iberia Bank building. The complex boasts modern, affordable living within walking distance of Jefferson Street, but some critics say that comes at a cost.

The apartments are brand new with a modern look, and may look pricey, especially being this close to downtown. But the apartments are low-income housing, and some residents in the same neighborhood fear this new development will hold back Downtown's potential.

The lofts are the newest apartment development in Downtown Lafayette and was designed to help revitalize the neighborhood. But some neighbors say they feel their needs are now being overshadowed by the 4 story, 4 building complex.

"Our neighborhood has so much potential and we are on the verge of so much change for the better," said resident Krista Fontenot. "That's being done by the people who live here, not the people who plan for here. They really don't care about the rest of the neighborhood."

The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority sponsored the Uptown Lofts project as a component of their plan to revitalize, beautify and redevelop areas of downtown. Rebekke Miller with the LPTFA says the complex will help raise the property values of the older homes in the surrounding neighborhood.

"This is definitely not a move to push them out. It's a move to provide affordable housing in the downtown area," said Miller.

Two different housing options, sharing the same neighborhood, just not the same vision for downtown.

"Our neighborhood can really do something great but were being held back by low-income housing projects," said Fontenot. "In the long run it's not going to be good for anyone."

"It's definitely new to them. It's certainly different from what they've been accustomed to," said Miller. "But it's certainly going to revitalize this neighborhood."

The lofts have 73 units, 58 are currently occupied, with more applications being processed. The lot directly next door is the next step in the project, where a similar complex will be going up. But that one, will not be income based housing.



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