Redeveloped marketplace to reopen as outlet mall
Last Call by Neiman Marcus, the off-price version of the high-end retailer, will anchor the redeveloped Riverwalk Marketplace when it reopens as The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in the late spring or early summer of 2014, the Dallas-based developer in charge of the project announced Monday.
The Howard Hughes Corp., which took over ownership of the mall two years ago, said it has leased about 94 percent of the building, which stretches several blocks along the riverfront.
In addition to the Last Call outlet store, which will be the first Neiman Marcus store in Louisiana, numerous other businesses — including Coach Men’s Factory Store, Tommy Bahama, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Hartstrings Childrenswear, U.S. Polo Assn. Outlet, Sunglass Warehouse, Red Mango and New Balance Factory Stores — have committed to The Outlet Collection, the company said.
“These exceptional retailers will create an unmatched shopping experience at The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk,” said Mark Bulmash, senior vice president of development for the Hughes Corp. “Our team has been working side-by-side with the city of New Orleans to ensure that we exceed the expectations of local shoppers while continuing to drive tourists and revenue to the downtown area.”
Other tenants announced Monday are Coach Factory Store, Café du Monde, Kenneth Cole Company Store, LOFT Outlet, Chico’s Outlet, Clarks/Bostonian Outlet, Gap Outlet, Guess Factory Store, Kay Jewelers, Raising Cane’s, Sunglass Hut Outlet and The Fudgery.
Bulmash said the Hughes Corp. is still talking with other potential tenants and the Riverwalk may reopen with even more stores.
“We’ve had overwhelmingly positive response from the retail community,” Bulmash said. “There’s a great opportunity for retailers to come into an area that doesn’t have a lot of stores.”
The company has had little difficulty attracting retailers to the project because New Orleans is lacking in retail compared with other similarly sized cities, Bulmash said, citing a study commissioned by the Hughes Corp. that found the city has about 30 percent fewer square feet of retail per capita than the national average.
The Riverwalk has been closed for renovations since Hughes purchased it out of bankruptcy in 2011. The $70 million renovation will expand the Riverwalk by 50,000 square feet to a total of 250,000 square feet.
The project is part of a string of recent retail announcements and additions to the New Orleans market that are expected to add 1.5 million square feet of retail space to the city by the end of 2014.
“It’s a really great vote of confidence that those national retailers want to come into New Orleans right now,” said Brenda Canada, director of retail attraction for the New Orleans Business Alliance. “We think that Riverwalk is going to be a great catalyst for bringing other retailers in the city.”
As the Riverwalk redevelopment has progressed, however, it has killed plans for another outlet mall. A proposal to build an upscale outlet mall at the site of the former Six Flags Theme Park in New Orleans East has been scrapped because the developer of that project did not believe New Orleans can support two outlet malls.
The city’s lease agreement with the development team for the Six Flags site, consisting of Provident Realty and DAG Development, runs until November 2014. But the parties have agreed to an early termination and are in the process of formalizing it, a city spokesman said.