Parish officials recently announced demolition work had begun at the site of Lancelot Square Apartments, located on 100 Lance Lane Drive in Luling, with completion of the project expected to wrap up sometime this week.
The apartment complex, located at the southern end of Lakewood Drive, suffered significant damage following Hurricane Ida, damage later deemed too severe to repair.
As one of the largest affordable housing apartment complexes within St. Charles Parish, the property sat unoccupied and idle since 2021, with nearby neighbors left wondering when a decision would be made to repair or demolish the structures. Over the last two years, the multi-building two-story residential complex appeared to have been stripped of copper by vandals, some of its windows busted out, along with other hazards.
“We’ve been working closely with [the property owners]; we got into that recovery period, and we started assessing housing stock and damage,” Parish President Matthew Jewell said. “We had to work through several hoops with the property owner to make sure that we can get these things torn down, because at this point, they’re now more of a nuisance and safety hazard for the community.”
According to Jewell, the property owner of the complex faced several hurdles before getting into a position to tear down its buildings. Like many other property owners in St. Charles Parish, Jewell said working with their insurance carrier posed a challenge, along with coordinating with FEMA and even the USDA, which had may have been involved in a financing-related arrangement on the complex.
Olsen Securities Corp of Metairie is the current listed owner of the property, according to St. Charles Parish Assessor’s Office. Parish online records suggest the business has owned the complex since around 1988. Olsen Securities is also the parish-listed owner of another apartment complex on 172 Keller Street which Jewell said suffered a similar fate from Ida. Demolition on the Keller Street location is expected to commence once demolition work on the Lancelot Square Apartments is complete.
“There’s actually four sets of apartments that are…under the same [general] ownership, that were unfortunately all destroyed by Hurricane Ida,” Jewell said. “It’s [roughly] 170 units that are no longer livable, and that’s what made it really tough for so many people…if you were a longtime tenant in one of these affordable housing units and they’re destroyed, you had very little options of trying to find something else in the parish; even before Ida hit, [affordable housing options were] hard to find.”
Jewell said to the best of his knowledge, the owners had not yet disclosed what they planned to do with the property once demolition is complete. Any new construction at that location would have to go through the normal parish approval process, such as the parish’s permitting offices and Planning and Zoning.
“Several people have reached out to me, interested in wanting to purchase the property or develop something else,” Jewell said. “Certainly, people have given me their opinion on what they would like to see built there, but obviously that’s going to be based off of what the owners want to do, and what’s appropriate for the zoning.”
According to its website, Olsen Securities of Metairie owns and operates numerous apartment complexes throughout Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. The company’s website says much of its property portfolio, like Lancelot Square Apartments in Luling, focused on providing lower-income families, disabled, and elderly with affordable housing.
The company identifies itself as being the owners of other St. Parish area complexes including Jasmine Lane Apartments in Paradis, Steamboat Cover Apartments and Ole Man River Apartments in St. Rose and Raintree Court Apartments in Hahnville.
Several attempts for comment on this story were made with Olsen Securities, which went unanswered by press time.