By Kristen Himmelberg
Special to Mid-City Messenger
The site of the former Home Depot on Carrollton Avenue may soon become a new strip mall anchored by a 13,600-square foot CVS pharmacy.
Renderings provided to the City of New Orleans show a development with ten possible retail buildings and a parking lot to go along with it. The current existing parcel would be demolished, if approved by the city’s Neighborhood Conservation District Committee.
The demolition proposal for the former Home Depot, located at 500 North Carrollton, is slated to go before the committee Monday at 2 p.m.
According to the blog Canal Street Beat, TMobile and Petco are also confirmed as tenants for the new development.
A real estate division of the Louisiana grocery store Rouse’s Supermarkets owns the 55,000-square-foot space. Records show that the grocery chain bought the land in 2013 for more than $7 million.
Proponents of the development say that the new proposal is another step in the redevelopment and recovery of Mid-City since Hurricane Katrina. Not all residents, however, are happy with Rouse’s current plans.
On Tuesday night, the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization board voted to request a 30-day deferral of the demolition request. The delay would allow for the board to meet with all interested parties and discuss the plans for the site, Jennifer Farwell, MCNO board president said.
The Friends of Lafitte Corridor, however, believes the project could be a good asset to the neighborhood.
The Friends of Lafitte Corridor has worked to revitalize the Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile park and public green space set to open this spring. The new park spans from Treme to Lakeview and passes right next to the new development site.
“The redevelopment of the former Home Depot site by Rouse’s is a pivotal project that, if done right, can further connect the new Lafitte Greenway to the Mid-City neighborhood and Carrolton St. commercial corridor,” said Jeffrey Thomas, chair of Friends of Lafitte Corridor.
The group also encourages the developer to take the Lafitte Greenway into consideration when creating their plans.
“We strongly encourage Rouse’s and all developers with plans in the vicinity of the Greenway to utilize the City’s $1.5 million Lafitte Greenway Revitalization Plan in shaping their projects,” Thomas added. “That plan, created in partnership with FOLC, greenway development experts, and citizens, provides an important playbook for assuring that the Greenway experience and private development mutually support each other.”
Thomas said the project’s design could create a space that is easily accessible and follows in spirit of the community.
“At a minimum, the project design should be open or linked to the Greenway, allowing for bicyclists and pedestrians to easily walk up to store fronts, cafes, and other business and public offerings,” Thomas said.
He added that storm water management needs to be considered.
“We also encourage Rouse’s and all developers along the Greenway to be bold in incorporating stormwater management designs into their green space, parking lots, and buildings,” Thomas continued. “In the spirit of being a Greenway District business, the new Rouse’s concept should help prevent neighborhood flooding and runoff pollution, while providing commercial offerings for Greenway users and the public.”
Home Depot closed its doors at 500 North Carrollton Avenue before the holidays in 2013 because of a disagreement with the building’s former owner, Mid-City Messenger reported at the time. The company was “unable to reach an agreement on the lease,” spokesman Stephen Holmes said at the time.
Home Depot opened as a temporary hurricane recovery location in September 2006. It was owned by Carrollton 500 Investors LLC, according to the Orleans Parish tax assessor.
Before Hurricane Katrina, the former Home Depot was a Winn-Dixie.
The new retail development will join a host of stores that opened in Mid-City on Carrollton Avenue recently. Winn Dixie returned to the area last summer as an anchor store of the new $40 million Mid-City Market retail development, located across the street from the Home Depot. The shopping complex was developed by Stirling Properties and included more than a dozen businesses.
Now, the Home Depot project is just one of several developments opening in Mid-City, as locals await the completion of Lafitte Greenway. A former laundry warehouse at 2606 St. Louis St. is set to open as a brewery called Urban South, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
And behind the Rouse’s Supermarket on Carrollton Avenue, near the proposed CVS development, a former professional squash player plans on opening a $100 million mixed-use development complex.
The building, which would span over 374,000-square feet, calls for a fitness center, boutique hotel and housing, according to reports.