LAFITTE, LA (WVUE) - Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner is hoping that an innovative waterfront seafood market and pavilion can help boost tourism activity in the small south Jefferson Parish town.
Earlier this year, Kerner's administration issued a "request for proposals" in an effort to find a management company to lease and operate the 16,000-square-foot market, named for popular Jean Lafitte resident and seafood business owner Jules Nunez, who passed away in 2014.
According to our partners at New Orleans CityBusiness, the $3.7 million structure features a covered wharf overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway/Bayou Barataria and is nearing completion.
"Fishing boats sail up and down this waterway everyday, but there really is no place for people to come and buy and eat fresh seafood," Kerner said. "We want to highlight the community's history and heritage as a fishing village."
Kerner said the city sent letters of interest to more than 90 local companies who might have the capacity to staff and manage the facility, located at 920 Jean Lafitte Blvd.
The current plan is for the market to provide raw, boiled and grilled seafood inside the market with dining inside or on the outdoor deck overlooking the bayou, while live seafood will be offered at several separate outdoor booths.
The layout includes a small bar area and a stage for live music.
James Barse, a commercial broker with Latter and Blum, is the leasing agent for the facility and is assisting in zeroing in on a management firm.
He said the selected firm would be responsible for finding tenants for the food and bar booths, booking acts and managing the market.
Barse said interested businesses can continue to respond to the RFP through Oct. 15.
Proposals will be evaluated on experience, financial feasibility, quality of submission, benefits to the town and compliance with Jefferson Parish's zoning code.
He said a recommendation on a selected developer will be made to the Jean Lafitte Town Council on Nov. 23. A final decision will be made Dec. 1.
"We hope to have someone signed on by the end of the year," Barse said.