BY DANNY MONTEVERDE
New Orleans bureau
October 26, 2012
New Orleans — Hurricane Isaac and some design issues delayed the opening of the anticipated Mid-City Market on North Carrollton Avenue by about four months, but crews are now working at full speed in hopes of completing the project by the summer.
“Your going to see a tremendous amount of activity from this point on,” said Townsend Underhill, vice president for development for Stirling Properties, the site’s developer.
Underhill said work on the project never actually stopped, only that it slowed down while the delays were being worked out.
Officials broke ground on the $38 million development in late March.
A Winn-Dixie grocery store will anchor the site, and a mix of smaller retail outlets and a small outdoor plaza will be included on the grounds.
Lewis Stirling, executive vice president of Stirling Properties, told the City Council’s economic development committee on Oct. 9 that he hoped to have the businesses open by the end of the year or early next year but that work is about four months behind because of the delays. Now, Stirling said, he projects a May or June opening.
“If we make up time, we’ll be open sooner than June,” Underhill said during a separate interview.
The new businesses will return to commerce the last dead stretch of an otherwise rejuvenated Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City. Until the project began, the land was a pocket of blight as a former Bohn Ford dealership and strip mall sat rotting since they flooded during Hurricane Katrina.
“Without a hurricane and an economic meltdown, we would have never been able to put that property together,” Stirling told the council committee. “We were able to actually put something together to make lemonade out of lemons.”
About 95 percent of the 107,000 square feet of the available retail space has been leased, Underhill said.
He said contracts to negotiate the remaining 7,000 square feet are ongoing and that he hopes the Mid-City Market will open with 100 percent occupancy.
In addition to the Winn-Dixie, the site’s other confirmed tenants include Five Guys burgers, Felipe’s Taqueria, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Panera Bread bakery and cafe, Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, Verizon Wireless, Office Depot and Jefferson Feed pet and garden center.
“Mid-City has been doing very well the last few years. There has been lots of residential activity, but it’s been missing the basic neighborhood services Mid-City Market will provide,” Underhill said. “We’re just finishing up the last pieces, trying to get the right mix.”
The development is projected to generate more than $60 million in annual retail sales.