Dick’s set to open Oakwood location

Oakwood shopping center is getting a big new tenant that will eliminate a large vacancy at the mall and continue a recent spurt of economic development in Terrytown.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Ricky Templet reported that Dick’s Sporting Goods is moving into roughly 43,000 square feet of retail space at the mall in a move that will allow General Growth Properties, the real estate trust that owns Oakwood, to reopen about 105,000 square feet of leasable space in total. Dick’s Sporting Goods will be in a section of the mall that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, and construction is supposed to begin next year.

Templet said consultants estimate that the opening of Dick’s, which should entice smaller retailers to move into the now vacant wing, will produce about 150 construction jobs and 270 direct jobs. He said officials have been searching for a business to replace the former Mervyn’s clothing store for years, and it’s good to finally see something develop.

“We’re very excited,” Templet said. “That property has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina. ... Oakwood in its heyday used to be the premier shopping center on the West Bank. ... This is just another economic tool coming to Jefferson Parish as a whole.”

Jerry Bologna, the new director of the Jefferson Economic Development Commission, said attracting Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has more than 500 stores nationally, should be viewed as a coup for Oakwood. Bologna said Oakwood’s future is looking bright.

“This is an economic win for Jefferson Parish,” Bologna said in a statement.

Templet said the Dick’s Sporting Goods decision is the second piece of good news that Terrytown has received recently. A long vacant former grocery store at Terry Parkway and Carol Sue Avenue also will see an improvement with a new Walgreens.

That site used to be an A&P store but closed in 2007. Rouses Supermarkets purchased the property but decided against opening a new store there because of concerns it would damage business at the Rouses on Belle Chasse Highway. The site has been largely vacant since then, with periodic seasonal usage. A Blockbuster video store on the site also closed.

Templet said the new Walgreens will occupy roughly 6,000 square feet and represents a $10 million investment in the area.

The store will be built across from the existing store, which will be leased to another tenant.

The store will represent a new type of Walgreens in the state that includes groceries and a new design., Templet said.

Templet said he hopes the redevelopment will encourage a surge of growth along Terry Parkway, which has seen several business shuttered in recent years.

He said he’s been in discussions with developers who want to open a bowling alley in Terrytown and possibly a new movie theater.

“We’re hoping that it opens up a corridor there that creates new jobs,” Templet said. “That corner the last few years has been an eyesore for the area.”

The opening of Dick’s Sporting Goods comes at the same time that Academy Sports and Outdoors has completed an expansion of its site at the Westside Shopping Center in Gretna.

That project, which the Gretna City Council facilitated by donating a city street, is part of an expansion of that shopping center that includes two other new businesses.

Templet doesn’t think the two sporting goods stores will cannibalize each other because they cater to slightly different clientele, he said.