SEC of South Claiborne Avenue and Toledano Street
New Orleans, Louisiana
THE WHAT AND THE WHY
The 100% leased, 106,000 square-foot Magnolia Marketplace opened in March 2015 in Central City New Orleans with T.J.Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, Michaels, PetSmart, Shoe Carnival, ULTA Beauty and Raising Cane’s. The initial phase of 6,000 square feet opened in 2014 and includes Capital One, Subway and T-Mobile. Located along South Claiborne Avenue near Toledano Street, the power center serves as a dynamic new retail development to an underserved portion of New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood.
Before Hurricane Katrina, the site was home to C.J. Peete Apartments (Magnolia Projects), a violent-crime-ridden public housing development. The majority of the site was redeveloped into the mixed-income Harmony Oaks community that opened in 2011. The City of New Orleans had a vision to redevelop the 6-acre parcel along Claiborne Avenue for commercial use. Utility infrastructure ran right through the site and costs to relocate and improve aging infrastructure were extreme for a project of this size, accounting for 15-20% of the total project costs.
We formed a joint venture with New Orleans developer JCH Development and coordinated extensively with City officials, neighborhood groups and community stakeholders. To offset the excessive costs, an Economic Development District (EDD) was put in place with a 1% sales tax to pay for part of the infrastructure relocation costs. This public-private partnership was a new way of doing business in New Orleans and the project would not have been possible without the support and collaboration with the Mayor’s office, the City Council and the Community.
Magnolia Marketplace opened in March 2015 after 7 years in pre-development. This urban infill project returned a vacant and blighted property back to commerce, and was 100% pre-leased prior to the groundbreaking and remains 100% leased. The project provides goods, services and over 200 permanent jobs to the area, including neighboring Harmony Oaks. With projected annual retail sales of over $36 million, the shopping center gives Orleans Parish residents the opportunity to keep their sales tax dollars local, instead of in neighboring parishes.
Magnolia Marketplace is evidence of the resurgence of Central City and serves as a catalyst for future growth. It embodies the strength of the New Orleans’ recovery and represents yet another important step in bringing retail back to the City.