Mid-City Development Will Affect our Restaurant Row

Contributed by Erin Kinchen
The Mid-City neighborhood is about to see some potentially large-scale and potentially important changes.  We are lucky that our research group will be able to lay out a baseline understanding of the “restaurant row” as it exists before the construction of the Lafitte Corridor and the Mid City Market create changes.
Image credit: Times Picayune

A greenway called the Lafitte Corridor (one may read extensively about the project here) will connect five neighborhoods along an abandoned rail line.  The greenway will start with a trailhead at Louis Armstrong Park in the Tremé neighborhood and will run in a long line up towards the lake, finishing in a trailhead in the Lakeview neighborhood on Canal Boulevard.  It is intended to provide paths for pedestrians and cyclists.  It is hoped that it will appeal to commuters and recreationalists, locals and tourists alike.  As the greenway appellation suggests, it will also provide mMid City Marketore public green spaces within the city of New Orleans, connecting the project to ecological development.  The project also hopes to stimulate economic development along the corridor in areas that have lost vitality either post-Katrina or that have malingered for decades as industries moved away from the area.

The Lafitte Corridor will pass directly by our area of research.  The planned greenway crosses Carrollton Avenue at St Louis Street, between Conti Street and Toulouse Street.  It is at this junction that the Mid City Market is breaking ground for development in the coming months.  The Mid City Market will take the place of a defunct car dealership and an abandoned strip-mall style shopping center.  It is owned by the Sterling Properties real estate company, and construction will be done by Donahue Favret Contractors Inc.  The projected opening is for the first months of 2013. Its anchor store will be a Winn-Dixie grocery store, designed after the company’s model store in Covington, Louisiana.  Other businesses that will occupy the shopping center include Office Depot and the local chain Jefferson Feed.  Potential restaurants in the shopping center include the semi-local Felipe’s Burrito,  Pinkberry frozen yogurt, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  After negotiation with the mayor’s office, it has been determined that there will be one crossing between the overflow parking lots and the Mid City Market.  This crossing will intersect the Lafitte Greenway.  The Mid City Market will be working to complement the greenway by including landscaping and bike racks as part of its construction plan.

How will the restaurant row be affected by these two major development projects?  Our professor and fellow blogger, David Beriss, has suggested a few outcomes: The local restraints on the Carrollton/Canal Street intersection may see an upswing of traffic as more people are drawn to the area.  Conversely, the shopping center’s food court may take business away from our local eateries.  It may be possible that the success of the shopping center may drive our neighborhood restaurants out of business as rents rise and more corporate chain restaurants move in.

We will lay the groundwork with our research this semester.  These questions will be answered as time moves on – and I sincerely hope that our familiar favorites will continue to cook long into the future.

Information from the following webpages: http://www.stirlingprop.com/site.php?pageID=85&newsID=377 ; http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/02/work_on_mid-city_market_is_sla.html ; http://folc-nola.org/

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