An agreement last year that restricted the development of 40 acres at the center of the former Colonial Golf and Country Club in Harahan has lapsed, allowing a portion set aside for green space to be developed as single-family residential lots.
John Georges, who owns the property with developer Wayne Ducote, said that while his primary focus remains bringing a supermarket to the 15-acre commercially zoned portion of the property, he will begin working on dividing up the center portion into about 35 1- to 2-acre lots.
Georges, who also owns The New Orleans Advocate, said he is still amenable to having a park at the site but that no one has come forward with a viable plan to do so.
However, he said, enough interest has been expressed since the agreement he signed with former Mayor Vinnie Mosca lapsed at the end of April to account for half of the homes that could go there instead of a park.
The agreement with Mosca was passed by the Harahan City Council in September as a way to allay concerns that the property could be overdeveloped.
Georges said his staff met with the Louisiana Land Trust and reached out to Jefferson Parish officials, but no workable solutions to create a park emerged.
He said he hasn’t heard anything from current Mayor Tina Miceli, who took office in January, about putting a park there.
Miceli issued a statement late Friday saying her administration is reviewing whether Georges and Ducote have made a good-faith effort to try to secure funding for a park.
“Maintaining a green space on the former Colonial Country Club property, which has remained undeveloped for approximately 100 years and is one of the largest undeveloped tracts of land on the east bank of Jefferson Parish, remains a priority not only for the citizens of Harahan, but for this administration,” she said.
The property also includes a strip along the levee that Georges and Ducote feel could be home to larger, 3- to 4-acre lots, though Georges said any lots in that section will likely remain in the developers’ hands.
He said the entire property will always have green space around the perimeter, as well as 15 acres devoted to collecting stormwater runoff.
Georges said he could have a letter of intent from a grocery store operator within the next several months and will probably prepare plans for the lots on the center portion throughout the summer.
He said public access to portions of the property remains in place for the time being.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.