In the December 2007 issue of Chain Store Age, I wrote about an historic structure on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, long-occupied by House of Bultman Funeral Home that was undergoing an extensive redevelopment to accommodate the first Borders bookstore in Orleans Parish.
The Stirling Properties’ owned building was retooled to the tune of $9 million, which involved teaming with the Preservation Resource Center and the Historic Districts and Landmark Commission in order to properly redevelop within historic guidelines, and the 24,000-sq.-ft. Borders opened in November 2008.
Fast forward three years. Borders is bankrupt, and Stirling – like so many of its real estate firm counterparts – was faced with filling the vacancy. It has done so in Stirling style – with another market debut.
This month, Stirling announced that The Fresh Market would open its fourth Louisiana store – a first in New Orleans – in the two-story former funeral-home-turned-Borders.
The store, according to Stirling, will utilize the location’s two stories to provide customers with a distinctive shopping experience, including a bakery, a full-service meat counter, ready-to-serve entrée items, fresh delivered seafood, more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses, a large wine and spirits selection, as well as an expansive produce department with more than 400 items and a large organic selection.
“St. Charles is the perfect location for The Fresh Market,” said Lewis Stirling, executive VP and partner for Stirling Properties, based in nearby Covington, La. “The area’s demographics support this type of retailer and given the current economic climate where retail spaces tend to sit vacant longer, it’s a testament to our team’s ability and the strength of the region that this location was able to get back into commerce so quickly.”
I concur. Because I live in Baton Rouge – just an hour from New Orleans – I can attest to the strength of the region, and to the proclivities of a south Louisiana customer base that will flock to Fresh Market. Good move, Stirling.