Miller Roy Apartments

The Ambassadeur Hotel is proud to unveil the Miller Roy Apartments, located at 1001 DeSiard St. in downtown Monroe. This iconic building, formerly known as the Miller-Roy Building, once served as the epicenter of Black prosperity in the area. In the 1930s and ’40s, it housed numerous Black-owned businesses that contributed to the community’s growth. However, over time, the building fell into disrepair, and its demolition seemed inevitable. Fortunately, the Ambassadeur Hotel has undertaken the task of renovating the building and transforming it into a 66-unit affordable housing development.

Developer Michael Echols is overseeing the meticulous renovation process. The building, which had suffered significant deterioration, is now undergoing insulation and sheetrock installation. The renovation also includes the construction of a 5,000 square foot community resource center on the first floor. This center will be a valuable asset to nonprofit organizations, providing assistance with healthcare and job training. Echols is collaborating with the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, the Homeless Coalition, and United Way to develop solutions that will benefit the downtown area.

“We initially came up with the concept of a community resource center,” Echols explained. “In the coming months, we will be revealing more details, as we are currently engaging with various nonprofits to provide financial training, job readiness programs, and other community services. Our goal is to support individuals who need guidance and knowledge to excel in life.”

In addition to the community resource center, the Miller Roy Apartments offer 18 spacious units on the top two floors of the building. Each apartment has been carefully designed to provide comfort and convenience to its residents.

The Miller-Roy building, once the hub for Black business activity in Monroe, is being repurposed into a 66-unit affordable housing development. Developer Michael Echols said the development will be completed in the fall.

To ensure a seamless experience for the tenants, the adjacent 50,000 square foot building is also being developed. The construction includes framing, electricity, and plumbing installations. Echols is eager to commence the exterior brickwork and sheetrock installation in the community resource center in the upcoming weeks. The completion of this ambitious project is estimated to be just six months away.

Eligibility for prospective tenants will be based on income. Echols explained, “Applicants whose income falls between 30% and 70-80% of the average wage in the market can take advantage of our adjusted rent schedule.”

The Miller Roy Apartments have received substantial funding from the State of Louisiana through tax credits and Community Development Block Grant funds, amounting to a generous $15 million investment. This financial backing underscores the significance and potential of this development.

The Miller-Roy building, constructed in 1929 by Dr. J.C. Roy and Dr. J.T. Miller, was an emblem of Black-owned businesses in the local community. The first two floors housed several offices for Black professionals, including doctors, dentists, beauty salons, pool halls, restaurants, and insurance agents.

The development will also include a community resource center offering benefits to tenants as well as city residents.

On the third floor, the Savoy Ballroom stood as a prominent venue on the Chitlin’ Circuit, hosting legendary acts such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and his orchestra, Turner Bradshaw, Lena Horne, the Andy Kirk Band, the Nina McKenzie Group, the Lucky Miller Band, Billy Eckstine, Rosetta Tharpe, Marie Knight, and Ethel Waters.

The Miller-Roy building earned its place on the National Historic Register in 2011 following a preservation effort. It had faced the threat of demolition in 2010, but its transformation into a flourishing development serves as a testament to its historical significance.

“We are incredibly honored to breathe new life into this once-neglected property,” Echols shared. “Throughout the operation of the Miller Roy Apartments, we will pay homage to the rich history of the Miller-Roy Building and its role in the African American and business communities. We will ensure that onsite memorials and commemorative elements serve as reminders of its importance.”

Experience the fusion of history and modernity at the Miller Roy Apartments, brought to you by the Ambassadeur Hotel. To learn more about this remarkable project, visit the Ambassadeur Hotel.