Central City shopping center a sign of neighborhood's future

Updated: Mar. 13, 2015 at 4:10 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A mural honoring the neighborhood's past welcomes shoppers to Central City's future.

City leaders and project developers cut the ribbon on the Magnolia Marketplace Friday, officially opening the center at the corner of Toledano Street and Claiborne Avenue. An estimated 70,000 cars drive the stretch of highway daily, and the hope is that people will stop and shop. In the past, many drivers continued on to Jefferson Parish.

The marketplace features a TJ Maxx, Ross, PetSmart and more.

Following is the complete news release from the city:

New Orleans –– Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined representatives from JCH Development and Stirling Properties to celebrate the Grand Opening of Magnolia Marketplace, a 106,000-square-foot shopping center located at the intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and Toledano Street in New Orleans' Central City neighborhood. Councilwoman-At-Large Stacy Head, a representative from Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell's office and other local officials were also in attendance.

“Magnolia Marketplace is further proof that New Orleans is building back better than before. This redevelopment is creating more jobs, strengthening our local economy and giving residents more retail options right here in the heart of New Orleans,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Magnolia Marketplace is also another example of a strong public-private partnership— celebrating the new way of doing business in New Orleans. The project will nicely complement the nearby Claiborne corridor and help spur activity and redevelopment across the city.”

The project was 100% pre-leased prior to the January 2014 groundbreaking. Open tenants at Magnolia Marketplace include: T.J.Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, PetSmart, Shoe Carnival, ULTA Beauty and Raising Cane's. Michaels will open on March 22, 2015. The initial phase of Magnolia Marketplace included a 6,000-square-foot development located at the intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and Fourth Street that opened in 2014 and now houses Capital One Bank, Subway and T-Mobile.

“This grand opening is about creating jobs, attracting national retailers, improving quality of life, building economic momentum, and turning Claiborne into a regional commercial corridor,” said Councilmember LaToya Cantrell of District B. “I am excited to celebrate the grand opening of this venture and I believe that it is a sign of future development in this city.”

“This project is evidence of the resurgence of Central City and represents yet another important step in bringing additional retail to the city,” said Townsend Underhill, senior vice president of development for Stirling Properties. “We would like to thank the City of New Orleans and Mayor Landrieu's Administration for being supportive in yet another project that signifies Stirling's commitment to the City of New Orleans.”

During the ceremony, Tara Hernandez, president of JCH Development, unveiled the Toledano Art Wall, a mural painted by local artists Rontherin Ratliff and his team at YAYA Inc.; Brandan “Bmike” Odums; and, Ellen Macomber. It conveys a story of many historical elements and events from the Central City neighborhood to share some of the area's proudest moments and accomplishments.

“We are proud to bring a dynamic new retail development to an underserved portion of the city,” said Hernandez.

Magnolia Marketplace is directly south of Harmony Oaks, a 460-unit, mixed-income residential development. The Marketplace will serve one of the city's busiest corridors, with traffic counts exceeding 70,000 cars a day. Claiborne Avenue also provides a vital connection between Uptown New Orleans and the Central Business District.

These recent commercial projects are significant in light of a 2012 report by the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) that analyzed the retail spending of Orleans Parish residents. The report estimates that Orleans Parish loses $1.9 billion in retail sales to neighboring parishes and other U.S. cities each year. Since its founding, NOLABA has focused on attracting retail and development throughout New Orleans. In addition to facilitating smooth progression of the project, NOLABA performed an independent economic analysis on the development before it began.

“Our evaluation revealed that the Magnolia Marketplace development would benefit area residents, people who travel Claiborne Avenue and the City's general fund through increased sales taxes, particularly because it attracted new national retailers to Orleans Parish,” said Melissa Ehlinger, interim president and CEO of NOLABA. “We always look for better than average returns on public investment, for impact that reaches New Orleanians at a variety of economic levels, and for projects that enhance the city's attractiveness to future investment. Magnolia Marketplace serves up all of these.”

For more information about Magnolia Marketplace, contact Townsend Underhill at tunderhill@stirlingprop.com or 985-898-2022, or for leasing information contact Rhonda Sharkawy at rsharkawy@stirlingprop.com or 504-523-4481.

About Stirling Properties

A member of the Retail Brokers Network, Stirling Properties is a regional real estate firm offering comprehensive services in development; commercial brokerage; property and asset management; investment sales; and property owner and tenant representation. Stirling's recent projects in New Orleans include Mid-City Market, a 108,000-square-foot Winn-Dixie anchored shopping center located at North Carrollton Avenue and Bienville Street, as well as the full renovation of the former American Legion building located on Magazine Street into a new 13,000-square-foot Walgreens Marquee Store. Since 2011, Stirling Properties has invested over $120 million in New Orleans.

Stirling Properties' portfolio includes over 13 million square feet of managed property and 60 million square feet of commercial properties for sale or lease. With offices located in Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, Metairie, Covington, Hammond, and Shreveport/Bossier City in Louisiana, Stirling is one of the largest real estate firms in the Gulf South. Connect with Stirling Properties on the web at www.stirlingproperties.com, “like” us at facebook.com/stirlingproperties, follow us @StirlingProp on twitter.com/StirlingProp or subscribe to our Stirling Insights blog.

About JCH Development

JCH Development is a boutique Urban Real Estate Development firm with extensive experience in developing historic, mixed-use, residential and commercial real estate projects. The firm specializes in delivering urban lifestyle experiences through the conversion of “cool,” creative spaces and delivering the “coolness factor ™”. www.jchdevelopment.com

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