Donaldsonville’s historic Lemann building redevelopment underway

Staff Report
Renovation of the Lemann building, located at the corner of Mississippi Street and Railroad Avenue, has begun in the Donaldsonville historic district.

Redevelopment has begun on the historic B. Lemann and Bro. building at the corner of Mississippi Street and Railroad Avenue in the Donaldsonville historic district.

The city’s Downtown Development District shared the news in a social media post. James Neville, owner of Neville Development, announced the financial closing and start of construction of the building.

“My partner Kevin Kelly and I would like to thank our many partners that made this project possible, including the Louisiana Housing Corporation, Office of Community Development, Boston Financial Investment Management, Home Bank, and Stonehenge Capital,” he stated.

The development will be a mixed income, mixed use project consisting of 42 units of artist preferred housing as well as 7,600 square-feet of commercial space on the ground floor, according to Neville. 

The building has a rich history. It was built and designed in the late 1870s by famed architect James Freret, according to the Donaldsonville Chief archive.

The Lemann Farm Supply business served the area for many decades as a general store. Through the years it expanded, eventually selling automobiles and tractors. The store has been compared to the modern Walmart, offering a wide array of inventory.

Completion of the redevelopment project is set for early summer 2022. The estimated cost is $14.5 million, according to a document filed with the state.

Work crews removed buildings at the rear of the property, which is adjacent to the United States Post Office building. The former Falcon’s Body Shop was demolished and cleared.