New Orleans Continues To Add New Retail Developments To Its Shopping Landscape
Brenda Canada, New Orleans Business Alliance Vice President of Retail Attraction, Development and Strategy, wrote this article for Southeast Real Estate Business in October 2016 after Magnolia Marketplace opened in Central City:
NEW ORLEANS CONTINUES TO ADD NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS TO ITS SHOPPING LANDSCAPE
By Brenda Canada
The New Orleans retail market is evolving quickly. In 2010, the city of New Orleans had an almost $2 billion retail leakage to surrounding parishes and to other cities. As in many other markets nationwide, retailers had migrated to the suburbs, leaving a former retail mecca with few shopping options.
As a city that had in recent memory been largely dependent on tourism, that exodus left a huge void in the city’s tax coffers. As a further setback, just as New Orleans was staging her comeback after Hurricane Katrina, the recession hit and national retailers stopped opening new U.S. stores. With tourism down and retailers grasping at any opportunity to close locations and improve their balance sheets, the retail outlook for New Orleans was dismal. Many said the city couldn’t be revitalized and we were wasting our time contacting national retailers.
However, the spirit and tenacity of this once-great city located at the mouth of the Mississippi River inspired everyone to keep moving forward. In five short years we can boast the addition of Costco, Tiffany, H&M, True Religion and a host of other popular national and regional brands. These newcomers, along with an associated increase in traffic to our unique mix of local retail entrepreneurs, account for a substantial portion of the city’s 48 percent increase in tax revenue in that time.
The newest addition to our shopping landscape is Nordstrom Rack, which joins Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, Forever 21, Coach, Le Creuset and other sought-after retailers as the second anchor at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk.
Riverwalk is a perfect example of the rebirth of New Orleans retail. This once-robust destination filled with name brands had become little more than a marketplace for smaller tourist- focused retailers. But The Howard Hughes Corp. had a vision, and a shadowy, uninviting mall has now been reborn as the nation’s first urban upscale outlet center. Today, the bright and airy corridors are typically crowded with cruise passengers, convention goers and local shoppers.
Magnolia Marketplace in Central City brought first-to-market big box retailers such as Ulta Beauty, PetSmart and Michaels to a neighborhood that was sorely in need of retail options. This location allows many residents who ride bikes or are dependent on public transportation to have access to desirable retail.
Across the Mississippi River, Algiers Plaza brought big box retailers T.J. Maxx and Ross Dress for Less within the city limits for the first time. Now residents in that neighborhood have the convenience of shopping close to home and keeping those tax dollars for the city.
One of New Orleans’ iconic shopping attractions is that its neighborhood retail corridors still exist. Magazine Street is once again bustling with new retailers — both national and local — opening regularly. Freret Street and Oak Street — mini Main Streets a century ago — attract retailers that understand the opportunities afforded by being adjacent to revitalized residential neighborhoods and universities.
As New Orleans moves further away from Katrina and ever closer to her 300th birthday in 2018, our progress continues. The city continues to attract well-educated Millennials and tech gurus interested in the city’s future.
New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. planted its flag in New Orleans East where new restaurants have not opened recently. Now they often have lines out the door as they serve heaping plates of thin-fried catfish. The first Marshalls in Orleans Parish will open soon in Mid-City. We continue to see retail growth in every neighborhood.
Office buildings converted to upscale apartments and condos have created a vibrant and walkable downtown. Reopening of the Saenger, Joy, Orpheum and Civic theaters has revitalized the Arts District. New restaurants from award-winning chefs such as John Besh, Alon Shaya, Donald Link and Emeril Lagasse continue to open, and every season up-and-coming New Orleans chefs advance on “Top Chef.”
The Regional Transit Authority continues to expand our beloved street cars to additional neighborhoods and Uber does a booming business. The Four Seasons Hotel under construction will feature spectacular views of the Mississippi River. Convention business continues to increase, a new airport is under construction and over 1 million passengers cruised to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean last
We know work remains, and some areas of the city are still vastly underserved. But we are working diligently to ensure that every neighborhood contains the retail that fulfills residents’ needs. We will not rest until New Orleans regains to her rightful place as the favorite shopping destination of the South.