Look out, Magazine Street. The new hot spot for shopping for some of New Orleans' most popular brands may soon be at the airport.

That idea may be a stretch, but as local officials plan for the opening of the airport's nearly $1 billion North Terminal in early 2019, a host of familiar names in local retailing and news media are vying to set up shop there.

A committee of airport officials and city representatives on Tuesday is set to select two proposals to design, build and operate news, gift and retail concessions at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport's new 35-gate terminal.

Four firms responded to the city's request for proposals, which said the city seeks to establish "an award-winning concessions program that celebrates New Orleans" and "appeals to both the local and visiting passengers."

The city wants to fill two areas in the new terminal, each roughly 9,400 square feet.

The two highest-scored proposals will advance from Tuesday's review; the final decision will rest with the Aviation Board.

To help give their proposals an air of authenticity, the firms competing for the project frequently name-check well-known local brands in their submissions, each of which is hundreds of pages long. Among other examples, they feature bottles of Abita beer, cans of Cafe du Monde coffee, confections from Blue Frog Chocolates and pralines from Aunt Sally's.

In addition, three local news publications — The New Orleans Advocate, The Times-Picayune and Gambit — are involved with the proposed newsstands.

Financial terms of the deals with the news organizations and other companies were unclear. Each proposal includes non-binding letters from various companies stating that they plan to conclude agreements if their group's proposal advances.

"As the first and last impression of this great city, it is imperative that proposers develop a world-class news, gift and specialty retail program that will reflect the region's rich cultures and provide passengers with a variety of product choices, including national brands," the city's request states. "Proposers are encouraged to feature locally recognized brands and merchandise."

Retail isn't the only aspect of its operations that the airport wants to be locally inspired. Earlier this year, proposals to build and operate restaurants in the new terminal's two concourses were backed by famed local chefs Susan Spicer and Emeril Lagasse and included proposed outposts of popular local spots such as Pizza Domenica and Angelo Brocato.

Now, local business owners are welcoming the chance to get their products on airport store shelves and in front of travelers looking for a last-minute gift or keepsake.

For Dirty Coast, which has built a following for its New Orleans-inspired T-shirts, getting on retail shelves in the new terminal could provide a lift — if it's handled right. 

Dirty Coast owner Blake Haney, whose apparel was mentioned as a retail option in each of the proposals, said such a local partnership could make the terminal's retail selection seem more authentic than more typical airport staples, like generic T-shirts with crawfish or fleur-de-lis emblems.

The potential operators "like the idea that we would be able to provide products that both locals and the culturally astute tourists may appreciate," Haney said. "It'd be great if it works out."

The airport's present retail program is run under a joint venture involving Hudson Group, but that deal expires next year.

Hudson, a major operator of newsstands at airports and bus stations with more than 950 stores in the U.S. and Canada, submitted a proposal for the new terminal that mentions ties to local stalwarts such as Cafe du Monde, Joe Gambino's Bakery, Aunt Sally's praline shop, Sucré and The Times-Picayune.

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The company said it would spend at least $4.8 million in initial building costs. Plans also include a market that would sell travel goods, sundry items and merchandise from local companies, including Alexa Pulitzer, a New Orleans-based boutique stationery company, and Grace George Jewelry, of Baton Rouge.

Pacific Gateway Concessions, of California, which operates in nine airports and has more than $70 million in annual sales, submitted a proposal that touts involvement with Nola Couture, the local tie retailer.

Other retail options it lists include Pulp and Grind, a Warehouse District cafe that sells specialty juices; the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, which might host programming for local chefs and authors; and Hattie Sparks, a boutique store that sells jewelry and accessories in the South Market District.

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Pacific Gateway's proposal, which calls for spending at least $6 million in initial capital costs, says the airport's retail selection should reflect "the real New Orleans — not just the history, but also (and perhaps especially) the future."

In addition, the company proposes adding a "groundbreaking hybrid retail and performance space" affiliated with New Orleans' iconic Preservation Hall. The space would serve as a unique spot for travelers to stop for a photo or catch a musical performance, as well as to buy tickets for the French Quarter landmark's nightly shows.

Another proposal, from Marshall Retail Group, a Nevada-based retailer that operates more than 160 stores in the U.S. and Canada, includes a newsstand to be run in conjunction with Gambit Communications, publisher of the weekly paper Gambit, and a Where Y'at-branded convenience store.

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Marshall proposes spending at least $5.8 million in initial capital costs. Depending on which space in the terminal it would be awarded, Marshall's plans also call for an on-the-go packaged liquor store, called Station Market, which would be located in the baggage claim area and would be run in conjunction with Gene Todaro, owner of Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar in the Central Business District.

Georgia-based Paradies Lagardere, which operates retail at almost 100 airports, submitted a plan that's backed by Beverly McKenna, publisher of the New Orleans Tribune, and local businessman Henry Coaxum.

The proposal, which calls for spending at least $5.1 million in initial capital investment, boasts a number of household names, including a newsstand branded with The New Orleans Advocate's logo; a Tabasco Country Store that would sell Tabasco-related gifts and accessories; a Brother's Food Mart outlet; and retail from Fleurty Girl and Nola Couture.

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"Paradies Lagardere doesn't just seek to build stores at MSY, it seeks to introduce the local community to passengers coming into the airport as it builds a world-class retail experience," the firm's proposal says.

In particular, Paradies Lagardere claims that "the quirkiness of Brother’s Food Mart, with more than 40 locations throughout New Orleans and the state, and the rich history of The New Orleans Advocate will provide passengers with travel necessities, quick snacks and fun souvenirs."

To make its decision, the selection committee will score the proposals on a scale that weighs each plan's products and likely prices most heavily, at 35 percent. Other factors are the proposal's design and quality, 20 percent; the firm's qualifications and its management and operations plan, 20 percent; how much money would flow into the airport's coffers, 15 percent; and having minority-owned firms involved in the work, 10 percent.

The city's request stipulates that proposed retail prices can't exceed what the product would cost elsewhere in the metro area by more than 10 percent.

The city is seeking a minimum annual guarantee from the winning firms of at least $1.7 million during the first year.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.