Stylish and Sophisticated: Aloft New Orleans Hotel & Strand Apartments for hip professionals

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A historic building downtown has now been transformed into a pretty hip place!  Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez takes us inside the new Aloft New Orleans Hotel and Strand Luxury Apartments.

The historic building at 225 Baronne Street used to be home to office space and The Strand Theatre.  New Orleans-based, HRI Properties and Starwood have since transformed the building into The Strand Apartments and Aloft New Orleans Hotel.  This space is aimed at a young, fresh, tech-driven clientele.

"I think New Orleans is a fun, cool, hip place to be.  We want to cater to a younger clientele.  Our target audience is people that want to be in a vibrant place.  It's a unique spot, and our guests will feel good while they're here,"  Tom Leonhard, President of HRI Properties, said.

The Aloft is home to 188 guest rooms which start at about $160 per night.  It's a comfy place to stay with the WXYZ bar in the lobby, which features local bands and booze.

The Strand Luxury Apartments feature 192 rooms and 5 penthouses.  They are currently leasing.  One bedroom start at $1,450 a month and two-bedrooms go for $2,350 a month.

"We took a lot of inspiration from New Orleans.  This one is designed as a shotgun unit.  This building was built where the former Strand Theatre was, so because of that, we named the rooms after famous actors and actresses from the past,"  Richard Allen, Development Project Manager for HRI Properties, said.

The best thing about these apartments is the fact that every single apartment has its own view of our wonderful city.

"Anytime you restore a historic building like this, you are providing a need that needs to be filled. This property is a place to live, play, and stay,"  Leonhard said.

The Strand Theatre was built on the site now occupied by The Strand Apartments by the Saenger brothers (of Shreveport, LA) in 1917. It was their premier theater until The Saenger Theatre opened in 1927.

After 1937, The Strand Theatre was sold to theatre mogul Joy Houck and re-named The Joy Strand.

A sister theater (opened in 1925) of the same name still operates in Shreveport. It is the State Theatre of Louisiana!

In the late 1950’s the Joy Strand Theatre was demolished and construction began on 225 Baronne Street.

The construction took place in the age of the space race and was able to take advantage of funds pouring into the city for NASA projects. Advertisements for the building from the early 1960’s bill it as “The Space Tower.”

Additionally, the 225 Baronne building was the first new building constructed in the Central Business District since WWII and was the tallest building in the state of Louisiana upon opening.

For more information about Aloft: http://www.aloftneworleansdowntown.com/

For more information about Strand: http://www.thestrandnola.com/

The Aloft will have it's official grand opening party on Thursday, June 18 from 5-7 p.m.  There will be a time capsule unveiling, a live painting demonstration, and live music by Luxley.   Tours of the guest rooms and event spaces will be given.