Renovation clears way for bustling shopping site to return
With a $3.7 million renovation of the historic St. Roch Market under way, the city is clearing the way for the once-bustling market to return to use.
The New Orleans City Council on Thursday approved a cooperative endeavor agreement between the city and the New Orleans Building Corp. that gives the nonprofit agency the ability to negotiate and enter into a lease with third parties at the site. The maneuver is procedural. Part of the mission of the NOBC is to lease and operate properties owned by the city.
The 8,600-square-foot market at St. Claude and St. Roch avenues, where vendors once sold fresh seafood and po-boys, is city property.
The venerable market is being renovated with community development block grants and FEMA funds. Repairs include roof replacement and exterior masonry repair. In addition, all of the market’s finishes, flooring, exterior windows and interior doors are being replaced.
The St. Roch Market opened in 1875 as an open-air marketplace.
It was enclosed in 1914 and then renovated by the Works Progress Administration in 1937. The city leased the space to a private owner for use as a seafood restaurant in 1945. The market fell into disrepair over the years and has been abandoned since it flooded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
Under the cooperative endeavor agreement, the NOBC will consult with the city to determine the highest and best use of the space. The NOBC also will manage and operate the property.
The agreement will be effective for 30 years.
The city has said that the completed market will be left a “white box” so as not to limit potential uses, which could include the sale of fresh seafood, produce, meat, baked goods and prepared food.