NEW ORLEANS -- On Thursday the New Orleans City Council approved an ordinance trying to revitalize a struggling section of the city.
Developers are steps closer to turning a vacant site into a multi-million dollar commercial development along the South Claiborne Avenue Corridor.
"Long-time coming, even if we look at pre-Katrina this area and this community was really starving for development," said New Orleans Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
Mounds of dirt and old brick are leftover remnants from the former CJ Peete Apartments. The public housing complex was closed, razed and then replaced after Katrina except for an empty lot.
But that could soon change. Plans are in the works to build a 97,829 square-foot retail development near the intersection of South Claiborne Avenue and Toledano Street. Tenants will include TJ Maxx, Ross, and Michaels.
City officials confirm that the $24-million development has already signed leases with seven major retailers.
A city of New Orleans report says the proposed development is projected to bring in $30 million in sales its first year and dozens of jobs.
"It will provide 200 permanent jobs for this community and we're going to work with the developers to really engage those neighborborhoods in those job opportunities," said Aimee Quirk, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Economic Development Advisor.
The Magnolia Marketplace Development is two-phased. The first and smaller commercial development is already underway at the intersection of Washington and South Claiborne.
"It will be home to a Capital One along with other small retailers. It's under construction now and you can see real signs of progress and growth," said Councilmember Cantrell.
"I think it'll be good because there will be more jobs for people instead of just doing nothing on the streets or at home. They can actually apply over there and work," said Sam Abdel-Jawad, who helps run Sports Action.
The owner of this family-owned business hopes the latest economic growth in Central City will also mean a boost in customers walking through the front door.
"The more people you see going to the stores, they'll probably come here too," said Abdel-Jawad.
The first phase of the Magnolia Marketplace Development project is scheduled to wrap up in December. The larger, second phase is slated to start in January and be completed in March 2015.