03/23/09 5:02pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: INVENTING THE HEIGHTS TEARDOWN Correction– The tearing down of old homes to build new was pioneered by Sterling Victorian Homes in the mid-late 1980s. It began on the 400 block of 22nd Street. These homes look very modest by today’s standards. It is likely true that Allegro pioneered the building of Disney-fied Hummer homes with cheese closets…” [Sheila, commenting on Scaling Back the Upscale: Allegro Builders, Downtempo]

03/20/09 12:45pm

Allegro Builders president and CEO Lambert Arceneaux has no more employees to let go from his company, and has had problems paying his subcontractors, a source tells Swamplot. Starting way back in the olden days of a dozen years ago, Arceneaux pioneered the concept of tearing down tired old Sears catalog homes and single-bathroom working-class bungalows in the Heights and replacing them with high-dollar luxury homes in Victorian dressing. After proving to other builders that land banking and upscaling the Heights could be a lucrative business, Allegro eventually stretched its repertoire to million-dollar-plus whirlpool- and wine-cellar-enshrined fantasies that mimicked a variety of regional historical styles.

Our source says Allegro’s project manager was let go a couple of weeks ago — and that “there’s no money coming in.”

Allegro also developed two small but high-profile mixed-use buildings on Studewood. One is now known as the home of Bedford Restaurant. An earlier effort across 10th St., which houses Lance Fegen’s Glass Wall restaurant and Allegro Builders’ offices upstairs, is shown here in a rare early photo — minus its usual tight single-wythe street wall of valet-parked SUVs: