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August 20, 2012

Howard Hughes, Others Pursue Mall Redevelopments in New Orleans

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Howard Hughes Corp. will be investing $70 million in redeveloping the Riverwalk Marketplace into an upscale outlet center, rebranding it The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. Project plans call for increasing the property by 25 percent, to approximately 250,000 square feet, by late 2013.

But The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk project isn’t only about increasing surface – though considering that New Orleans has 30 percent less retail surface per capita than the national average, the addition of extra retail space is a welcome development. According to a company press release, other goals include diversifying shopping opportunities and changing tenants, in some cases to bring in retailers that currently lack a Gulf location.

Located at 500 Port of New Orleans Place, the outlets will be easily accessible to both Eastbank and Westbank shoppers, as well as tourists. The planned addition of dining and entertainment options will increase its appeal. A significant overhaul was much needed, as the Riverwalk has not been updated since opening in 1986.

But not everyone is happy with the project, although its annual sales taxes will jump from a current $860,000 to $2.7 million, according to The Times-Picayune. Many of the current tenants will be hard-pressed to find new leases in locations that are as advantageous, an especial hardship since the 2013 Super Bowl is just a few months away, WWL-TV reported.

Another shopping center soon to be revamped is the Algiers Shopping Center at General DeGaulle and Holiday drives. New Orleans CityBusiness reported that Southlake, Texas-based N3 Real Estate will invest $32 million for redevelopment.

PMAT Cos., the locally based owner of the shopping center, will be able to double the mall’s current retail surface to 250,000 square feet, as well as renovate some of the existing on-site businesses, such as the Winn-Dixie grocery store. The expansion in retail surface will also bring in a bevy of new tenants; Petco and Ross Dress for Less were among the first names to be announced, and negotiations are still in progress with other prospective tenants.

Photo credit: The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk’s Facebook page