Commercial Progress Report

Mediterranean Dream

by Lisa Hanchey

A lawyer's elaborate vision for unique office space is slated to become a reality at the corner of Ambassador Caffery and Verot School Road later this year.Wednesday, July 27, 2011
By Lisa Hanchey

A lawyer's elaborate vision for unique office space is slated to become a reality at the corner of Ambassador Caffery and Verot School Road later this year.Wednesday, July 27, 2011
By Lisa Hanchey

David Abraham, left, Grady Abraham and Grady's son Luke at the site of Abraham Centre

No, it's not a mirage. It's Lafayette attorney Grady Abraham's vision of the Mediterranean-style office villa he has dreamed about for three years. Currently under construction at the intersection of Verot School Road and Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Abraham Centre is a uniquely designed two-story building that stands apart from the conservative commercial complexes around Lafayette. "We have some really creative and new details that Lafayette has probably never seen before," Abraham says.

Abraham found the ideal plat for his project on the fast-growing south side of town at 5040 Ambassador Caffery. "With the opening of the Ambassador extension and the future four-laning of Verot School, it is going to be a major artery with a lot of traffic, giving the building a great deal of visibility," he explains. After selling one side to CVS Pharmacy, he reserved the portion fronting Ambassador Caffery for Abraham Center. Designer Jeannine LeBlanc searched all over for the perfect pieces for Abraham Centre, acquiring furnishings, tile and roofing from as far away as Israel.

Designed by Pecot and Company Architects and contracted by Core Construction, this 14,000-square-foot building will house the law offices for Grady Abraham, David Abraham and colleague Kevin Duck. Approximately 6,850 square feet on the first floor are available for build-to-suit. From the outside, soaring 12-foot cathedral ceilings on both levels make the building appear to be four-stories high. Topping the roof is imported handmade clay tile combining the colors of FireFlash and Tuscany from the Impressionist Series by Ludowici.  The stucco exterior is accented with arched windows on the ground floor and balconies on the second. "We spent a lot of time and effort trying to make this a really cosmetically appealing building," Abraham says.

Inside, the modern front lobby will showcase a Blueworld double-sided water feature visible from both the lobby and the conference room. Hanging from the ceiling will be a custom-designed contemporary 3 Form Light Art chandelier made of Varia, a contemporary sustainable and eco-friendly product. The ceiling tiles are from Tech Zone by Armstrong. Wall niches will display some unique local art and sculpture. Whimsical furniture by Christopher Guy, whose designs are found in the ritzy hotels of Las Vegas, London and St. Tropez, will fill the interior. Throughout the building, floors will be covered with a combination of polished and unpolished porcelain tile with a listello border.

On the second floor, the brothers Abraham have spacious corner offices with their own balcony access. But the showpiece of the building is the second-floor chapel. Modeled after the Portiuncula of St. Francis of Assisi, the chapel's entryway features restored doors and remnants that are more than 100 years old. A stained glass transom from Europe tops the deep-stained frame. Local artist Craig McCullen of Whoojoo Glass re-created the damaged pieces and crafted complementary stained glass for the flanking panels. Inside the chapel is an arched ceiling and custom-made pews. Along the back wall is a hand-painted mural by Covington-based artist Stacy LaFleur, replicating the original from the Portiuncula's exterior.

Next to the building is a standalone enclosed garage with the same custom-designed tile roof as the main complex. Outside will be a fountain, with a break area comprising green space and benches on the side. Elaborate Mediterranean landscaping, including Italian cypress and palm trees, will accent the grounds. "I've always been inspired by creating something beautiful," Abraham says. "I think the building is going to be very esthetically pleasing to the eye. I just have always thought that Mediterranean architecture is one of the most beautiful architectures that exist."

Abraham Centre's completion is slated for later this year. For leasing information, contact Cecil D. Trahan Enterprises Inc. at (337) 406-1147.