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Greater New Orleans Retail Market Heats Up

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

One of the most important news items to come out of the Big Easy this week was–as many real estate-related news stories are in New Orleans–Katrina-related.  More than seven years after the storm, the damage it caused is still quite visible in many areas. But one area, at least, will soon erase one more reminder of it: the suburb of Terrytown, where part of the Oakwood Center will soon be redeveloped. According to The Times-Picayune, Dick’s Sporting Goods will open in the Oakwood Center’s Mervyn’s wing, which sat shuttered since the storm.

The wing, facing the West Bank Expressway, will benefit from a $20 million facelift, resulting in a 43,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store, expected to open in the third quarter of 2013. Reportedly, Dick’s move will also result in several smaller mall shops opening around it. Construction is expected to start in January 2013 and will create 27 direct jobs and an additional 150 construction jobs.

Not far from the Oakwood Center sits the now-defunct A&P grocery store, at Terry Parkway and Carol Sue Avenue. Though Rouse’s Supermarkets purchased the property in 2007, it has sat empty since 2011. According to The Times-Picayune, the Jefferson Parish Council supported Walgreen’s plans to develop a store on the site. The deal, which might be hammered out by the end of December, entails Walgreen’s tearing down the shuttered property and replacing it with a new 17,000-square-foot structure.

Furthermore, New Orleans CityBusiness reports that the Westside North Shopping Center in Gretna is expanding. The center, divided by the West Bank Expressway, undergoing an $8 million expansion, has gained three new tenants, with Auto Zone, western wear store Cavender’s and Planet Fitness opening locations at the site. Additionally, the Gretna City Council approved plans for two more expansion phases at the site. The new building, to be located on the old Franklin Avenue, will reportedly also house Smoothie King.

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