City Announces Sale Of Blighted Lake Terrance Shopping Center

 NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced that the former Lake Terrace Shopping Center at 1532 Robert E. Lee Blvd., in the Gentilly neighborhood, will be redeveloped by local developer Kenneth Lobell.

         Since it was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, this private property has sat blighted and vacant. For the last year several years, the City has aggressively pursued action against the property’s former owner, DMK Acquisitions and Properties LLC (DMK), to force redevelopment of this commercial property.

         As a condition of the purchase from DMK, the City of New Orleans will receive $100,000 to clear the title of all code enforcement liens and fines imposed against DMK. This represents the largest single code enforcement fine paid to-date to the City of New Orleans.

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         Lobell’s agreement with the City requires him to apply for a demolition permit within seven days of purchase and the property must be demolished within 60 days of the receipt of a demolition permit from the City. Within six months of demolishing the existing buildings on the property, Lobell is required to begin construction on a new commercial development. The newly built commercial shopping center will include a First NBC Bank branch and approximately 6,500 square feet of general retail space.

         “Returning the former Lake Terrace Shopping Center to commerce has been a priority for my administration since taking office,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “For far too long, this private property has sat blighted because its owner refused to take responsibility for it. But after years of hard work and persistence, today is a new day. By successfully negotiating its transfer, this property can now be redeveloped and returned to commerce to the benefit of Gentilly residents and all of New Orleans.”

         District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, “One of my top priorities since taking office as District D Councilmember has been to make sure the Lake Terrace Shopping Center site returns to the community hub that is once was and soon will be again. I'm very pleased with today's sale of Lake Terrace Shopping Center. After years of legal delay and thanks to the hard work of Code Enforcement, the Law Department and my office, the residents of this area will finally once again be riding to Paris and Robert E. Lee to shop and conduct business. Now today, we can move forward with economic development opportunities that will spur growth and a new vibrant corridor for the community. I thank Mayor Landrieu and his team for their partnership working together to get us here today. I also have to thank the constituents of Oak Park, Vista Park and Lake Terrace for their patience and constant advocacy over the years. Our work continues!”

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         Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said, “We appreciate the steadfastness of neighborhood leaders who have helped us in this fight against blight and we are thrilled that an experienced developer like Mr. Lobell has agreed to take this project on. The City and the residents of Gentilly will greatly benefit from this property being redeveloped.”

         When Mayor Landrieu took office in May 2010, New Orleans had the worst blight problem in the nation and no strategy to address it, city reps said. After extensive public input, research on best practices and advice from national experts, Mayor Landrieu announced an aggressive blight reduction strategy in October 2010 with an ambitious goal of reducing the blight count in New Orleans by 10,000 units by 2014, which the City exceeded. City reps said the strategy prioritizes data-driven decision-making, innovative new enforcement policies and opportunities for reinvestment to grow and strengthen neighborhoods.

         Today, New Orleans as a whole has 15,000 fewer blighted addresses. In addition, the U.S. Census recently noted that New Orleans remains one of America’s fastest growing cities, and for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans is among the nation’s 50 most populous cities.

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