NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A derelict part of Mid City will be getting some major upgrades after the venture capital firm founded by New Orleans entrepreneur Sidney Torres funded the sale of a 9-acre plot of land along Bayou St. John.
The land stretching from the back of Rouse's on N. Carrollton to S. Jefferson Davis Parkway has been an eyesore for Liuzza's owner Frank Bordelon for decades.
"When the railroad stopped coming through and stopped dropping stuff off, people went out of business, and it just stayed empty for the last 30 years," Bordelon said.
When Bordelon heard someone had purchased the land, he welcomed the news.
"We are the precipice right now," he said.
"It's just a great area for residential and commercial development," Torres said.
Torres plans to develop it and take advantage of its location near the bayou.
"We're entertaining other developers coming in and building one section of it, and we are going to do some really cool development on the bayou with kayaking, paddle boards, with like a kayak barn - similar to what you see at Alys Beach and WaterColor.
A rendering from the Florida development shows what Torres is referring to. The development puts homes and businesses side- by-side, taking advantage of walking paths and canals. And with the proposed Mid-City development in close proximity to the nearly completed Lafitte Greenway bike path, Torres plans to wrap restaurants around the area.
"We're going to have coffee shops, sushi bars, different types of commercial venues along the corridor as people ride their bikes by," Torres said.
Those who live nearby see the plans as progress.
"Just seeing the development, it's like, finally, you can kind of breathe after the storm," said resident Jeremy Armand. "It's starting to pick up more and more, and we are really excited. We love Mid-City. And we love all the conveniences to the Quarter and City Park and everything, and this area is starting to boom."
If there are any reservations, it's that the project may overwhelm the neighborhood. One Mid-City business owner who did not want to give his name said he welcomed the plans but was concerned that the project may not mesh well with the other homes and businesses in the area.