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Six Flags redevelopment 'on life support' as negotiations hit major snags

The long-awaited redevelopment of the Six Flags site, which has been dormant since Hurricane Katrina, looks to have hit another roadblock.

NEW ORLEANS — The re-development of the old Six Flags site in New Orleans East is "on life support."

Tempers flared at an Industrial Development Board meeting Thursday as developers gave an update on the progress made in the deal -- particularly that no progress has been made in negotiating a lease agreement with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

Troy Henry, whose company won the big to redevelop the site into "Bayou Phoenix," said that time kills deals -- and this deal has taken much longer than it should. He has complained that NORA wants too much control over the project.

"(The project) is on life support," Tangee Wall, a New Orleans East resident who has followed the deal closely said. "I have no reason to feel confident that at the end of this month, or at the end of any month, that there's any seriousness being applied to this."

When Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Bayou Phoenix as the partner chosen to redevelop the old Six Flags back in October of 2021, the lease agreement was supposed to be signed by the end of the year. That still hasn't happened.

The Six Flags site has remained overgrown and underdeveloped since Hurricane Katrina. A couple of movie companies have shot parts of films at the location, but otherwise it has been blocked off and a sight for trespassers and curiosity seekers. 

Bayou Phoenix envisioned outdoor ball fields, indoor courts, waterparks, retail shops, and other amenities as part of a new family-friendly destination just off I-10.  

NORA is supposed to take ownership of the Six Flags site from the Industrial Development Board and negotiate a lease agreement with the Bayou Phoenix team. However, Henry has said that the terms NORA is offerings are a "bad deal" and no developer would take it.

"There’s a difference between oversight and interference," Henry said in an earlier interview with WWL-TV. "We don’t have a problem with oversight, we have a big problem with interference. And both of us having a hand on the steering wheel is interference."

The idea was floated at Thursday's meeting to cut NORA out of the deal entirely and have the Industrial Development Board sell the property to the Bayou Phoenix team.

The City of New Orleans released a statement after the meeting saying:

"The City remains committed to working with Bayou Phoenix to recognize the dream of a completely developed and economically healthy former Six Flags site. Although we are encouraged by the cooperation displayed by all invested partners and stakeholders, the City of New Orleans will not waver in its commitment to a development project that is transparent, accountable and is in the best interest and of the utmost benefit of the people of New Orleans."

The next Industrial Development Board meeting is set for Dec. 8.

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