French Market Corporation To Return More Than $2M To City

NEW ORLEANS – The French Market Corporation (FMC) announced it will be returning a dividend in excess of $2 million this year to the City of New Orleans due to increased profits from three FMC-operated parking lots.

         The FMC, which is required to provide 20 percent of all net adjusted revenues to the City under a 1992 franchise lease agreement, will increase its annual contribution from about $1 million last year to about $2.4 million this year. The FMC plans to make this contribution for at least a three-year period, subject to an annual review during the City’s budgeting process each year.

         “The French Market has long been an important part of the City of New Orleans, and the French Market Corporation continues to look for ways to increase its contributions to the City,” said Demetric Mercadel, president of the FMC Board of Directors. “We are grateful to be in a position to contribute our parking revenues, and, as we continue to increase profitability with our parking operations, we intend for that contribution to grow.”

         The parking lots, which FMC assumed in 2014, are located on the riverfront behind Café du Monde, at Esplanade Avenue, and at Elysian Fields. Since the FMC assumed control of the lots, there has been a significant increase in profitability.

         “Due to the French Market Corporation’s aggressive efforts to increase revenues and reduce costs, the French Market continues to grow and solidify its role as a prominent cultural icon for New Orleans,” said New Orleans Deputy Mayor & Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. “These increased contributions from the FMC will help fund essential City services, like public safety, street repairs and parks and recreation – all of which better residents’ quality of life and draw more tourism dollars. The City will continue to do all it can to support and protect the uniqueness, beauty and popularity of America’s oldest public market."

         The FMC Finance Committee and Board of Directors would be required to give the final approval quarterly prior to FMC staff issuing the payment of the dividends. The contribution would be made quarterly, once net revenues from parking have been determined. 

         “We are not only fulfilling our fiduciary duty to return a dividend to the City, but we are increasing that dividend significantly this year and for at least three consecutive years,” said FMC Executive Director Jon Smith. “Our goal is to continue this trend as long as possible, and the signs are positive that we can accomplish this goal. We look forward to the success of our merchants resulting in additional success for the City of New Orleans.”

         “As the City Council and Administration continue to look for ways to fund infrastructure repairs, public safety, sanitation and other basic city services that residents deserve, it is with great appreciation that we receive increased revenues from our partners in public benefit corporations, such as the French Market Corporation, as they maximize and leverage their assets," said City Council President Stacy Head. "On behalf of the City Council, I thank the FMC and its board members for exceeding their fiduciary responsibility and to the City and for their role as the conservator of one of New Orleans' most important cultural attractions."



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