Lenny Lemoine invests in historic Whitney Bank building in New Orleans’ CBD

Lenny Lemoine Photo by Robin May

The gist: Within months of selling a major stake in his construction firm to Bernhard Capital Partners, Lafayette businessman Lenny Lemoine has teamed up with Baton Rouge developer Mike Wampold to buy the 108-year-old former Whitney National Bank building on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. 

“It’s a great honor to partner with Mike Wampold on the acquisition of buildings with as rich a history as the former Whitney Bank headquarters,” Lemoine tells The Current. “Mike is experienced at sensitive redevelopments and is committed to preserving these magnificent structures.” 

What’s planned for the old Whitney? Nola.com reports that a high-end boutique hotel will occupy most of the space, which comprises seven buildings in New Orleans’ bustling Central Business District. What the partners paid wasn’t disclosed, according to the newspaper, but the property was recently valued by the Orleans Parish Assessor at approximately $17 million.

The estimated $100 million development will also offer luxury multifamily residences, Wampold told nola.com, along with restaurants and retail on the lower level.

Prime CBD property is in OZ. Lemoine says investors plan to take advantage of tax benefits available for the development. “We believe that the Opportunity Zone program could be a significant benefit and should help with the overall economic viability,” he says.

Lemoine confirms that his company is in the final stages of completing The Garage, a $49 million mixed-use project Marcel Wisznia developed in the CBD’s Lafayette Square. Lemoine personally invested in that project as well. 

The Lemoine Company is also the contractor for a $175 million renovation project to the Children’s Hospital New Orleans campus and is renovating LCMC Health’s West Jefferson campus, a $75 million project.