NEW ORLEANS — The city of New Orleans will be searching in coming months for a new plan to transform the former Six Flags amusement park site in eastern New Orleans after developers with ambitions of bringing an outlet mall officially killed the project.
Alan Philipson, president of the Industrial Development Board that holds title to the 150-acre property on behalf of the city, said in a meeting Tuesday that a public process to select a new tenant is being decided and should be finished by the end of the year. He said he hopes to have a new developer vetted and selected by the end of March, 2014.
"We're going to make it work this time," Philipson said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration last year selected Provident Realty Advisors and DAG Development to redevelop the amusement park, which was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina, into a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall. The joint venture signed a two-year temporary lease agreement for exclusive rights to develop the land.
But at a board meeting in March, the developers revealed doubts about moving forward because a new competitor had emerged. Plans for a $70 million outlet mall at the Riverwalk were underway by Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. The tentative Six Flags site developers said the New Orleans area market couldn't support two outlet malls.
Philipson said Tuesday that Provident Realty Advisors and DAG Development agreed to terminate their contract after the Riverwalk's project moved closer to reality. Early last month, Howard Hughes announced a long list of retailers that had signed leases for The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, including Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus, Kenneth Cole and Coach. The Riverwalk is slated to re-open in late spring or early summer of next year.
David Wolf, the board's attorney, said the city wants the selection of a new developer to be a public process. He said the office of the mayor's economic adviser, Aimee Quirk, has received many calls from people who want to submit proposals. In the meantime, movie studios continue to pursue the site for filming.
The last time around, a city-designated committee considered two finalists to take control of the Six Flags site -- an outlet mall and plans for Crescent City Amusement Park. The committee rejected proposals for an adventure and water park, an electric power plant, and a combination theme park-resort and sound stage, among other plans.
Board member Darrel Saizan said he was disappointed the project fell through, considering the success he's seen at the growing Tanger Outlets outside of Baton Rouge. Moving forward, Saizan said, "I'm hoping to see something that creates jobs and opportunities and keeps the site clean."
Provident Realty Advisors and DAG Development, under the temporary lease, were paying just under $1,700 per month in rent to the Industrial Development Board. Philipson said the termination agreement did not include any penalties.
Philipson said until the contract was terminated, the Industrial Development Board couldn't consider any other plans for the site.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com