Louis Lauricella

Louis Lauricella

Managing Member, Lauricella Land Company, LLC

Lauricella Land Company is a commercial real estate developer whose biggest project currently is the Elmwood Center in the Elmwood area of East Jefferson.  It is the largest open-air, retail-focused project in Louisiana at 1 million square feet. Elmwood began with little fanfare in the mid-70s and has gone through multiple ownership and operational cycles – some down, more up. Today Elmwood Center is 100 percent owned by Lauricella Land Company, on quite stable footing and facing a bright future.

What are you most excited about in the coming year? We’ve just completed a major exterior renovation to Elmwood Center and will be seeing a slew of new and better retailers and restaurants coming to Elmwood along with the announcement of a significant residential component. This residential piece of 250 apartments in Phase 1 will offer the finest apartment living in East Jefferson amidst all that Elmwood Center has to offer. It was created in response to a trend in our industry to create “town centers,” which offer all components for a “live, work, play, shop” experience.

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Elmwood Center already offers several major lifestyle anchors in Ochsner Fitness Center and AMC Theater, and we will be upping our game in the next year with new, higher-quality retailers including Banana Republic Factory Store, Express Factory Outlet, Torrid – as well as others with whom we are in discussions. Also, expect us to introduce a grocery component to our mix along with some new restaurants — Boulevard American Bistro will locate in our most prominent location and La Madeleine will open in an entirely new location. Along with all these upgrades, we are looking to improve much of our common space with more landscaping, greater walkability, improved drainage, better lighting and signage.  In short, we are remaking Elmwood into something that simply does not currently exist in the New Orleans market.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?  There is no question that the biggest challenge right now is trying to figure out where retail is going in the future.  The current thinking is to create “town centers” that are more equally weighted with retail, restaurants, experiential components and residential/office.  In the meantime, every developer needs to look very carefully at those companies with whom they are looking to sign leases. Never before have developers looked more carefully at the future viability of brick-and-mortar retailers in the face of the onslaught of online retail presence.  Simply put, the threshold question we ask ourselves when considering a retailer is, “Will they be around in five years?”


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