Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Laura and Delta impacted the construction, the developers behind the old federal courthouse redevelopment in Downtown Lafayette knew the project would take a lot of work. J. Dyke Nelson, the architect behind the project, said he had to wear a hazmat suit the first time he came out and saw the property.
“It was not to protect me from any kind of asbestos or lead paint or anything else. It was to protect me from the pigeon poop,” he said.
After five years and numerous delays brought on by hurricanes and the pandemic, the apartment complex built into the old federal courthouse building was finally unveiled Thursday.
The project was led by developers E.J. Krampe III, Nelson and David Weinstein, who purchased the 80-year-old courthouse complex for $1.4 million from Lafayette Consolidated Government in 2018. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Krampe and others praised the communal effort to revitalize the property, which was one of the largest and most-noticeable blighted properties in Downtown Lafayette.
“It definitely took a village,” Krampe said. “We were not alone. It took a team to do this, both internal and external folks.”
The apartment complex, called the Lofts at the Municipal, is now leasing.
One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman, Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO Mandi Mitchell, and Downtown Development Authority CEO Anita Begnaud all spoke at the ceremony, saying it is a step toward turning Downtown Lafayette into a more vibrant hub for the Acadiana Region.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory also called the project a significant win for Downtown Lafayette and said the district needs more public-private partnerships to improve downtown as the capital of the Acadiana region.