Firm Aids with Economic Development Project in Slidell
March 14, 2014
The Fremaux Town Center has opened with fanfare in Slidell, Louisiana.
The large, retail development project features anchor stores such as Kohl’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The second phase of the development, which is planned to include an additional 320,000 square feet of retail space, is scheduled to open in Spring 2015.
Fishman Haygood represented Stirling Properties, one of project’s two developers, on the deal.
Against the backdrop of a high school band and smiling elected officials, a big crowd gathered Friday morning in Slidell to mark the grand opening of the Fremaux Town Center, a large retail development city leaders hope will help boost flat sales tax revenues and restore some shopping luster to the eastern side of St. Tammany Parish.
Friday’s grand opening might have been a formality – several stores, including anchors Kohls and Dick’s Sporting Goods, have been open for more than a week – but developers and city officials hope the opening of the shopping center at
Shortcut Highway and Interstate 10 signals a brightening of the local economy.
“It’s been a very fast-paced 18 months,’‘ Townsend Underhill, a vice president for one of the two developers, Stirling Properties, told the crowd. Stirling, based in Covington, and Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc., took over the stalled development from Alabama-based Bayer Properties in 2013.
Underhill said sales at the shopping center are projected at more than $120 million annually. The first phase will create more than 800 permanent jobs and includes Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Michaels, PetSmart and restaurants such as Cheddar’s, Panera Bread and LongHorn Steakhouse. Later phases of the development includes additional stores, as well as proposed office buildings, hotels and residences. Build out could take decades, developers have said.
Frustrated by the lack of progress on the 400-acre site, Slidell officials welcomed the change in developers when Stirling and CBL took over. Nonetheless, Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan told the gathered crowd he was skeptical the new development team could do everything it promised.
“But they’ve done everything they said they would do,’‘ a smiling Drennan beamed from the podium.
Drennan and other Slidell officials have said they think the Fremaux Town Center will draw shoppers from eastern New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and western Mississippi. The new stores might also persuade Slidell shoppers who have become accustomed to heading to the large developments in the Covington area to shop at home instead, they say.
City officials have pledged to work with the ownership of North Shore Square mall on the western side of the city to help revitalize that shopping area.
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