$13.4M Wal-Mart to Replace Former Gentilly Woods Mall

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor Looks like New Orleans’ shortage of retail options will soon be remediated, as national retailer Wal-Mart has closed on a deal to acquire the shuttered Gentilly Woods Shopping Center from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), The Times Picayune reported. Wal-Mart and NORA have been in talks for the past [...]

Looks like New Orleans’ shortage of retail options will soon be remediated, as national retailer Wal-Mart has closed on a deal to acquire the shuttered Gentilly Woods Shopping Center from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), The Times Picayune reported.

Wal-Mart and NORA have been in talks for the past several months, but were unable to come to terms on the financial aspects of the deal. But a deal has been struck between the national retailer and the redevelopment agency. Wal-Mart will pay $3 million for the property itself, significantly less than the $4.3 million NORA spent in 2008, when it outbid a private developer, or the $5.5 million the property was said to be worth that year.

The discounted price tag of $3 million comes with a few strings attached, however. As Wal-Mart plans to demolish the blighted shopping center to build its own big-box structure, the retail chain has to pick up the tab on any and all demolition costs, as well as any contamination remediation. Furthermore, payment on these services has to be made before any construction work on the site is started. Another important condition attached to the low price is Wal-Mart’s commitment to New Orleans’ goal of hiring workers from disadvantaged and minority groups during the construction phase of the project, and as employees at the future store.

Wal-Mart will reportedly spend $13.4 million at the site – a sum smaller than the $15.9 million it was willing to spend in 2008, when the retail chain first approached NORA with plans to redevelop the site as a big-box Wal-Mart store. NORA favored a mall developer’s plans, which never came to fruition due to lack of funds. Wal-Mart plans to open the store in early 2014.

The chain retailer is also developing a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Eastern New Orleans, expected to open in the fall of next year. Late 2013 is the estimated opening time for Costco’s recently approved warehouse-style stores that will rise on the site of the former Carrollton Shopping Center.

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Photo credit: Wal-Mart’s Facebook Profile