Developers Making Progress on Clearview City Center
NEW ORLEANS — The approximately $100 million redevelopment of Clearview Mall is progressing despite the supply chain delays affecting much of the construction industry.
When all is said and done, the old shopping center at the corner of Veterans Boulevard and Clearview Parkway will become Clearview City Center, a “live, work, play” development that includes apartments, retail, a hotel, a health clinic and space for festivals and special events.
In 2019, the Richards family, led by attorney Thomas Richards, said it would reinvent the property to reflect modern shopping and and lifestyle habits. Under the new plan, the existing Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and AMC Theatres will remain while much of the remaining enclosed mall space will be demolished. New construction will complete the site.
Various components of the project are moving forward at different paces. A new Regions Bank branch on the property, for instance, is already open for business, and construction is underway on an Ochsner clinic and new 270-unit apartment building. But demolition of the existing mall won’t begin for nearly a year because of long waits for necessary equipment.
“We thought we were going to start demoing earlier but the lead time and all the mechanical and electrical equipment we need to have in place before we demo is about 45 weeks,” said Richards during a May 4 interview. “Everything’s progressing there but they don’t have all those transformers just sitting in a warehouse. They make them when you order them, so unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Richards said his team will use the time to finalize plans.
“I wish it was a little bit sooner, but I think we’re finally at a point where we have answers to questions we didn’t have since we started this planning process,” he said. “We’re finally starting to be able to answer those questions and start doing some of the smaller shop leasing, which is going to be fun.”
Richards said Ochsner Health is targeting an October opening for a new “super clinic” that will take over the space once occupied by Sears. The 185,000 square-foot facility will offer primary and specialty care clinics, outpatient surgery, physical therapy, a drive-thru pharmacy, endoscopy suites, a “medi-spa” and more. It will also feature a 10-bed micro-hospital to accommodate overnight stays and be equipped with technology for telemedicine. An Ochsner spokesperson said it is expected to create approximately 300 new healthcare jobs once complete.
Meanwhile, the five-story, multi-family residential project, developed by Atlanta-based real estate investment and property management firm Audubon, will take longer. As will the reinvented retail space.
“To be safe, I’d say [the Audubon project] will take a year and a half to two years,” said Richards. “They’re still just driving pilings and about to start building the garage. And then in about a year is when you’ll see the old mall come down. Everything outside of the target building, Ochsner’s footprint and the AMC building is going to come down to the ground. The problem is that there are three Entergy transformers on the roof over there. So I can’t do anything until I figure out how to get power to Target and Bed Bath.”
Richards said plans are still taking shape for other outparcel projects, including a hotel.
“We’re trying to finalize a deal with the hotel developer … to do a 110-key, limited-service hotel in the back,” he said. “We’ve kind of moved it over toward the multifamily development for a couple of different reasons. There’s a little single story red brick building in the back right there that’ll probably roughly the footprint of the hotel. So I think some of the things that don’t have as much clarity and timeline, you’ll start to see in this next year or two.”