Attendees at Thursday's re-branding event get a closer look
at Uptown Lofts.

Joie de Vivre, the mixed-use development rising on Congress Street across from the IberiaBank building, is no more — in name anyway. A campaign to re-brand the residential/retail development — and, no doubt, put some distance between the project and the controversies that have followed its progress — began Thursday evening with live music, free beer and soft drinks and a new name for the development: Uptown Lofts.

A performance by The Mercy Brothers punctuated the casual event. A website for the newly renamed development, which is principally an urban residential project for medium- to low-income people, is also up and taking applications. Residents cannot earn more than 60 percent of the area median income. For Lafayette, that means a single resident must earn less than $25,740 annually; a family of four must be below $36,720.

According to the project’s website, potential applicants and occupants at Uptown Lofts must also undergo a criminal history screening. Anyone with a felony conviction or two misdemeanor convictions in the last five years, or any conviction/plea for a violent crime, will be rejected. The project is designed to appeal to young, hip urban dwellers and, truth be told, renderings of the apartments depict living spaces with a certain Euro-Bauhaus cool.

Uptown Lofts is going up at the edge of Mills Addition, a historic neighborhood adjacent to downtown proper, on land acquired from Acadiana Outreach Center. The project has been met with steady and at times robust resistance from a small but committed group of Mills Addition residents who view the sleek, modern structure as an intrusion in their neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.

        Uptown Lofts is roughly 50 percent complete.

Now a project of the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, Uptown Lofts, nee Joie de Vivre, is rising after fits and starts grown out of the financial collapse of Acadiana Outreach. The development consultant for the $16.5 million project, Greg Gachassin, was hit with ethics charges by the state Board of Ethics earlier this month for two unrelated projects.

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