Sam Zemurray, an infamous banana trader turned influential entrepreneur who was responsible for overthrowing two Central American governments. United Fruit Company, a banana trading company perceived as the face of a thriving industry at the height of its power. Dr. Eric George, an entrepreneur with a record of restoring historic and iconic businesses throughout New Orleans. An unlikely intersection of narratives, the recent acquisition by George of the former United Fruit Company building, where Zemurray worked for several years, blends past and present to create an exciting future.
The building, located at 321 Saint Charles Avenue in New Orleans, is the latest commercial real estate project for George and his company, ERG Enterprises. The acquisition brings together several prominent investors, including Allan McDonnel, in a partnership spearheaded by ERG Enterprises.
The future of the building remains uncertain; however, the partnership group has already performed an analysis of the building's history. As selective demolition commences, the partnership group plans to preserve key features of the building--many believed to be original to its construction in 1920. This includes the lobby entrance, chandlers, ornate trimmings, and other catching touch points found throughout the property.
With plans for the redevelopment of the property in development, George and his team are focused on ensuring new property preserves the building's original character. This focus on preservation remains an important priority for George, who was recently recognized as one of the most important preservationists in New Orleans by the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans.
"When it comes to real estate investment, our goal is to salvage properties that are historic and carry tremendous value for the communities in which they exist," says George. "But our focus isn't to just ensure these properties exist, but to give them a new purpose, one that blends the past and present to give them a sustainable future. And I believe, and our team and partners believe, that we've been successful in this regard."