City celebrates ruling in Lake Terrace Shopping Center case - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City celebrates ruling in Lake Terrace Shopping Center case


New Orleans, La. - Ed Chervenak lives across the street from the old Lake Terrace Shopping Center in Gentilly.

It's now a shell of what it used to be.

"I walk my dog along this block everyday and every day I have to look at this eyesore. We've all heard the empty promises from the owner that he's going to develop it and as you can see, it's a skeleton," says Chervenak.

According to the city, the owner, Kenneth Charity with DMK Acquisitions started making promises to redevelop the property back in 2009.

"Under the prior administration, DMK, the owner of Lake Terrace Shopping Center, applied for an economic fund grant and was awarded 250 thousand dollars towards the re-development of the property," says Economic Development Advisor to the Mayor Amy Quirk.

Quirk says DMK received $225,000 of the $250,000 grant from the city. "Since Mayor Landrieu's administration, we've come in and tried to take a look at what's being done to re-develop the property before dispersing any additional funds," says Quirk.

Quirk says the property, though, remained gutted and fenced with no real signs of progress.  In 2011, the city's code enforcement authorities became involved.

"It's been vacant for a period of time. Not only did we view this property from a code enforcement point of view, we also had a lot of neighborhood property owners calling and saying this property remains vacant and open and it's blighted and you guys have got to do something about it," says Pura Bascos.

DMK was slapped with a $15,000 fine last June.  The owner filed an appeal with Civil District Court.

A judge ruled in the city's favor, that the owner is guilty of blight and being a public nuisance.

Kenneth Charity with DMK told FOX 8 by phone, he's appealing the court's ruling in this case.

Meanwhile, the city says it will continue its aggressive strategy to remediate and ultimately put the old Lake Terrace Shopping Center back into commerce.

Charity told FOX 8 he's a good corporate citizen who has done nothing wrong.  He says his property is under construction right now and schedules for the project have been handed over to the city.  He also says he's used more than $2 million of his own money on engineering costs and surveys.

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