NEW ORLEANS -- If you build it, they will come? For now that is what a portion of Mid-City is starting to look like as the Lafitte Greenway Project inches closer to completion.
The bike and pedestrian trial is clearing the way for ambitious ventures by commercial developers.
"It's five parcels of land. It's roughly 373,000 square feet or 8.6 acres," said Ryan Donegan.
In industrial and now abandoned Mid-City blocks, the Better + Boulder co-founder spotted potential. The vacant land sits along Conti Street between N. Scott Street and N. Jefferson Davis Parkway.
Donegan is working with other developers to build a massive fitness center with rock climbing and squash courts. If everything goes to plan, that won't be all.
"It also has restaurants, cafes, retail, multi-family component, which would include rental properties. It has an office space and a technology lab," Donegan said, along with a boutique hotel.
With the Lafitte Greenway Project finally clipping along in the New Orleans neighborhood, Donegan knew the area was the right place to invest. He confirms a co-developer agreement is being ironed out. Securing permits still needs to happen. The goal is to break ground by this fall.
"There's a lot that's coming online soon. The hospital redevelopment project as well as the old Home Depot site," Donegan said, pointing out other development nearby.
A few blocks away, an old industrial laundry warehouse at N. Dorgenois and St. Louis streets could soon be turned into a restaurant and brewery.
"When you're doing big volumes of beer, you have some pretty tall tanks, pretty tall fermenters, and so you want ceiling heights that ideally would be about 30 feet, and you can do it in as little as 16 feet," said Jacob Landry.
The Tulane graduate hopes his Urban South Brewery dream will become a reality at the Mid-City site. He quit his day job working for Jefferson Parish schools and teamed up with Greencoast Enterprises to follow his passion for beer.
Together their vision is to open up the brewery on the Greenway, complete with a tasting room and eventually a restaurant, helping redevelop a once-neglected corridor many hope will finally come back to life.
"There's also a movie theater going in across the way. The St. Bernard Project is putting in a really neat project in across the Greenway. I think it's inevitable. I think it's a question as to how long it will take," Landry said.