NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, the City of New Orleans announced plans to complete the redevelopment of the historic St. Roch Market located at 2382 St. Claude Avenue. The City, through its public benefit corporation the New Orleans Building Corporation which manages the St. Roch Market, has selected Bayou Secret, LLC to operate the building. Bayou Secret is a company which includes founding members of Launch Pad, an entrepreneurial workspace founded in 2009 in the Central Business District. Bayou Secret’s redevelopment plan for St. Roch Market includes operating a fresh foods market utilizing multiple vendors along with a neighborhood restaurant. The City recently completed at $3.5 million renovation of the building which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
“The St. Roch Market has stood as an important anchor for the St. Claude Avenue commercial corridor for over 130 years,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Today, we are excited to announce our plan to redevelop this newly renovated, iconic building. For years, the St. Roch Market was where our citizens went to get fresh food. By working with the community, we have identified an operator that is committed to restoring the market to this purpose.”
Councilmember-at-Large Jason Rogers Williams said, “This is a definite step in the right direction to bring much needed resources to this community in the midst of a remarkable revitalization. This beautiful market can bring fresh food to the neighborhood, while supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs.”
District C Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, “I am extremely excited about the opening of the St. Roch Market. I believe that this will provide a much needed economic boost in the St. Roch, Marigny, Bywater, and the Lower Ninth Ward communities. This is also a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their business, and at the same time reinvest in the community. I truly believe this is the beginning of the revitalization of the St. Claude corridor.”
Last year, the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) hired New Orleans-based commercial real estate company Corporate Realty Inc. to find a tenant to lease the St. Roch Market at fair market value who could both operate the property in a manner sensitive to the community’s needs and who had the expertise and financial wherewithal to make the market an economically viable venture. St. Roch Market operated as neighborhood fresh food retailer. After meeting with a number of interested tenants, NOBC has selected Bayou Secret, LLC to operate the St. Roch Market.
Will Donaldson, Managing Member of Bayou Secret, LCC said, “We are very excited to bring back the St. Roch Market in its original intended use. After several months working with the neighborhoods, we’ve formulated a plan to create an entrepreneurial hub for community development, provide affordable food options, and educational resources for the St. Roch community.”
During today’s Regular Meeting of the New Orleans City Council, an ordinance was introduced authorizing Mayor Landrieu to enter into a lease agreement with Bayou Secret, LLC to operate the St. Roch Market. Any disposition of City property is required to layover 21 days before the City Council can approve the ordinance. During this time, the NOBC will meet to review and approve the lease agreement with Bayou Secret, LLC. Because the St. Roch Market was renovated as a "white box" following a $3.5 million renovation, the tenant will be responsible for building out the market for its intended uses and negotiating with potential vendors. Bayou Secret, LLC anticipates opening the St. Roch Market to the public in Spring 2015.
“As the City’s public benefit corporation responsible for redeveloping the historic St. Roch Market, the New Orleans Building Corporation is excited about the future of this important building. We have worked with the community from the very start of this process to make sure that the new St. Roch Market is a concept that has the community’s support. Today’s announcement is validation of everyone’s hard work,” NOBC Secretary Kathleen Turner said.
The St. Roch Market was built in 1875 as an open-air market. A renovation in 1914 fully enclosed the Market and full renovation was completed 1937 as part of Works Progress Administration efforts in New Orleans. In 1945, the City leased the St. Roch Market to a private owner for use as a seafood restaurant. The building has remained vacant since Hurricane Katrina.
The City recently completed a $3.5 million refurbishment of the St. Roch Market. Repairs included roofing replacement, exterior masonry repair, and tuck-pointing. Complete restoration of the interior includes interior floating slab replacement, roof replacement, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems replacement. All of the finishes and flooring in the entire facility have been replaced. The exterior doors, windows and interior doors have been replaced. The St. Roch Market was left as a “white box” so that it can have many potential uses.
Funding for the $3.5 renovation of St. Roch Market came from FEMA public assistance and Disaster Community Development Block Grant funding.