In what would be the latest push to redevelop city-owned parking space, the French Market Corp. will consider issuing a request for qualifications next month from companies interested in redeveloping two lots on Elysian Fields Avenue, Executive Director Jon Smith said Tuesday.
The board that governs the French Market was set to consider the issue Tuesday, but it deferred action after Smith said his office needed to confer with the New Orleans Building Corp. and the city’s Office of Place-Based Planning.
“We are definitely going to be getting to those items in October,” he said.
The French Market Corp. operates two Elysian Fields parking lots and a third along the Mississippi River behind its Decatur Street retail shops.
The three properties are expected to generate $2.4 million in revenue this year, a figure that increased after the agency brought the lots’ management in-house and automated their operations.
The potential redevelopment would not completely eliminate parking at the two properties, which — in addition to bringing in millions — have long served to alleviate the Marigny neighborhood’s parking pressures. Instead, the French Market is considering “a general mix of parking and light commercial applications, as it benefits the needs of the neighborhood,” Smith said. That could include a drugstore, a grocery store or other retail, plus parking spots.
“We are a public benefit corporation, and we recognize first and foremost that we have to provide a (service) to the community,” he said.
Talk of the French Market lot development comes as the city is considering proposals to develop two separate parking lots near the Piazza d’Italia monument on Poydras Street.
Those lots are expected to become mixed-use developments that incorporate hotel, retail or other components.
It also comes months after the city signed a deal to turn its long-vacant former World Trade Center building into a Four Seasons Hotel and condominiums. When announcing the Piazza d’Italia development opportunity, city officials said they hoped to capitalize on the national attention the World Trade Center project drew.
The French Market Corp.’s next meeting is Oct. 27.