More than a decade after being inundated with floodwaters during Hurricane Katrina, the former Lake Terrace Shopping Center is coming down.
Crews began demolishing the Gentilly shopping center Wednesday after years of legal disputes that saw the city first offer its former owner public funds to redevelop the property before later cracking down with fines and an attempt to seize the site.
Those efforts culminated in the sale of the property on Robert E. Lee Boulevard to developer Kenneth Lobell, who plans to build a First NBC Bank and about 6,500 square feet of retail space on the site.
The shopping center has been vacant since the 2005 flood.
DMK, a company owned by developer Kenneth Charity, bought Lake Terrace in 2007 for $1.35 million and received about $225,000 to redevelop it in 2009 and 2010, The Lens reported last year.
But no work was done to bring it back into commerce, and the site remained blighted. Eventually, it racked up $33,000 in delinquent property taxes and interest.
Under Lobell’s deal with the city, which was finalized last month, the developer was required to pay $100,000 to clear outstanding liens and fines from the city — an amount city officials said was the largest code enforcement fine the city has levied.
That agreement also required Lobell to start demolishing the property within 60 days and begin construction on the project within six months.