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1999-08-22
New Orleans, LA. Albertson's Mangles History

Vieux Carre Property Owners, the St.Charles Avenue Association, and the Felicity Street Redevelopment Project. The New Orleans City Council will have the final vote on the project on September 2nd. Residents are not opposing a grocery store outright, just asking that it be compatible and harmonious with the rest of the neighborhood. They want Albertson's to do 3 things: 1) downsize the scale of their supermarket from 66,000 to 45,000 s.f. 2) cutback the number of parking spaces needed from 219 to 135 and 3) relocate the 10 historic buildings that are in the footprint of the project, and move them to vacant lots in the neighborhood. "We merely ask that commercial development respect the scale of our historic communities," opponents say. Attorney Bill Borah, a leading critic of the plan, wrote the following in an op-ed piece in the Times-Picayune newspaper: "By ignoring the pedestrian scale of the neighborhood...demolishing or removing 10 historic buildings, favoring the automobile above all other means of transportation, and refusing to design a building in keeping with the scale of the neighborhood, Albertson's is attempting to impose low-density suburban sprawl in New Orleans...This is a special American city. To accept Albertson's proposal without question is to accept mediocrity. New Orleans and Central City deserve better." The project requires zoning changes and a conditional use permit from the City Council. The project has been supported by several Central City Churches which hold an interest in the development. Bob Rissing, Albertson's Real Estate Manaer, told a reporter: "We have promised the city of New Orleans a 66,000 square foot store, and we are not going back on that." Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie responded: "Albertson's and its suburban developers have no real conception of what is appropriate for our city...such an unimaginative, intransigent mindset is clearly wrong for New Orleans."

What you can do: New Orleans is a national treasure. Anyone wishing to support the residents of St.Charles Avenue and New Orleans generally, should immediately call City Councilman Oliver Thomas at 504-565-6320, and Jim Singleton at 504-565-6325. Both of these Councilmen support the Albertson's project. Urge them to scale down the project to St.Charles Avenue size, and shrink the parking lot. The project is proposed for Councilman Thomas' district.










 
 
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