Mid-City Market shopping center nearing completion; tenants include Winn Dixie, Panera bread and Five Guys burgers

Just months ago, it was nothing more than a blighted strip mall and abandoned car dealership.

Now, the old Bohn Ford site in Mid-City is just about ready to welcome shoppers looking for a spot to buy groceries, grab a bite to eat or get their nails done.

The Mid-City Market is about 98 percent complete and will open to the public on July 31, said Jordi Goodman, development manager for Stirling Properties.

“We’re doing a couple of final finishes and really just trying to get the tenants ready to stock their shelves and ready to open,” Goodman said.

The $38 million shopping center will be anchored by a Winn-Dixie, which occupies the former car dealership site on North Carrollton Avenue near Bienville Street. Other tenants, which will be located in several buildings that surround an outdoor pedestrian plaza, include Office Depot, Jefferson Feed Pet and Garden Center, Panera Bread bakery and cafe, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Pizza Hut, Verizon Wireless, Felipe’s Taqueria, Five Guys burgers, Pinkberry yogurt, LA Nails Spa and an Ochsner health clinic.

Goodman said those tenants will fill most of the 107,000 square feet of the available retail space. While Stirling officials previously said they hoped to open with 100 percent occupancy, negotiations are ongoing to fill two remaining spaces, Goodman said Friday.

Stirling, which broke ground on the project in March 2012, hoped to have work done by late 2012 or earlier this year, but Hurricane Isaac and some design issues delayed the progress several months, leading to the summer ribbon cutting.

The market project and a new Costco rising on South Carrollton Avenue at Palmetto Street bookend the largely rejuvenated thoroughfare in Mid-City.

In particular, the shopping center will return to commerce the last dead stretch of North Carrollton. Most of the businesses on the corridor that flooded during Hurricane Katrina reopened, but the former strip mall and car dealership never did.

“It was desperately needed,” Matthew Morgan, president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Association, said of the market. The neighborhood, which was home to 14,633 people in 2010, according to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, was feeling the pinch of one grocery store and a dearth of other businesses, such as an office-supply store.

“It says Mid-City is the place to be right now,” Morgan said. “We have Whole Foods coming, Costco coming in. We have a lot of good things in Mid-City right now.”

The development, which Councilwoman Susan Guidry described during Thursday’s City Council meeting as “transformative” for the neighborhood, is projected to generate more than $60 million in annual retail sales.