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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

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Mayor Landrieu, City officials open the doors to new Whole Foods Market in New Orleans

February 04, 2014

NEW ORLEANS, LA– Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City officials and representatives from Whole Foods Market and Broad Community Connections to open Whole Foods Market at 300 N. Broad Street. As an important retail anchor in the revitalization of the Broad Street corridor, the $14 million project will increase fresh food options and create 125 full-time jobs.

Watch video from the opening
View photos from the opening

“As a part of the ReFresh project, the new Whole Foods Market is further proof that New Orleans is on a retail and redevelopment roll. This strong investment in an underserved community is not only an opportunity for economic growth and job creation but also an example of the strategic partnerships that are positioning our city as a national model for urban renewal,” said Mayor Landrieu about the redevelopment of the once blighted property which was also the former Schwegmann’s supermarket and Robert’s Fresh Market.

“We are so excited to be a part of this project and thank the City of New Orleans and Broad Community Connections for approaching us,” said Mark Dixon, president of Whole Foods Market’s Southwest region. “We’re ready to serve the community and share what Whole Foods Market is all about.”

To ensure a robust local workforce, the City’s Office of Workforce Development and JOB1 Business and Career Solutions assisted the effort to secure employees for the new Whole Foods Market.  The City provided recruiting, hiring and training services, including organizing and hosting two recruiting events. JOB1 assisted over 250 residents with job applications. To date, 112 people have been hired.  In total, 74 percent of the staff members are Orleans Parish residents.

The 25,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market marks the beginning of the ReFresh project and is part of the City’s New Orleans Fresh food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), a program designed to increase access to fresh foods in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. Once completed, the 60,000- square-foot space will include Liberty’s Kitchen, Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Broad Community Connections and FirstLine Schools.

Broad Community Connections, a non-profit organization working to revitalize Broad Street from Tulane Avenue to Bayou Road, is the developer for the ReFresh project.  “Broad Community Connections' vision for the ReFresh Project has been to create a development that will not only deliver the highest quality fresh foods to the Broad Street neighborhoods, but also create an economic and community development anchor for a community that has been underserved for decades.  That process takes a giant leap forward with the grand opening of Whole Foods Market, which is not only a place to make groceries, but a testament to the vibrancy of the communities along Broad Street and New Orleans more generally,” said Jeff Schwartz, Executive Director of Broad Community Connections.

The ReFresh project received a $1 million loan from the FFRI with a forgivable amount of $500,000. This project also received a $900,000 award from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority through their Commercial Corridor Revitalization program.

Launched in March 2011, FFRI will award $14 million worth of low-cost, flexible financing to enable vendors to open, renovate or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables in lower-income areas of the city where access to fresh foods has been lacking. In addition the ReFresh Project, the City previously announced $1 million FFRI loans, with a forgivable amount of $500,000, to help fund the redevelopment of the iconic Circle Food Market in the Seventh Ward and the opening of Aeren’s Supermarket.

City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This redevelopment of putting a blighted property back into commerce is such wonderful news! By providing access to fresh foods and produce, creating jobs for our locals and generating taxes for our City, Whole Foods is a welcome partner in revitalizing the Broad Street corridor. Thanks to the Administration, the Hope Enterprise Corporation and The Food Trust, Broad Community Connections and L+M Development Partners for making this dream a reality!” 

Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “I am thrilled to celebrate with Whole Foods, Liberty’s Kitchen, Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Broad Street Community Connections, and the entire Mid City neighborhood on this fabulous addition to Broad Street, one of New Orleans’ most significant commercial corridors.  I have had the great pleasure of working with these groups and others on not only this particular project, but also the larger efforts to revitalize Broad Street, and I am very optimistic about the future of this corridor and neighborhood.”

District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “I am so thrilled for our Mid-City residents that Whole Foods is opening on Broad Street.   Not only is the neighborhood getting a much-needed economic boost but, through the ReFresh Project, residents are also gaining a unique space where fresh foods and a healthy lifestyle will be available to everyone.”

"This is the kind of community investment that we all can believe in and support: neighborhood redevelopment, new jobs and fresh food for our families," said District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. "For decades before Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, this site housed a supermarket and now we get to celebrate its much-needed, triumphant return: better than before. I look forward to shopping here."

“Today’s opening of the Whole Foods Market is a wonderful step for the ReFresh Project and is positive news for our city,” said District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “As a proponent of the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, I am happy that the program played a key role in bringing a grocery store and greater access to fresh food to this community. I applaud all of the community businesses, non-profit, and government partners that worked together to make today’s opening a reality.”

District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “Today’s opening brings improved access to fresh, healthy food to the heart of New Orleans. It also brings more jobs to empower our residents and more opportunities for us to spend our hard earned money right here in New Orleans. I thank the administration, Hope Enterprise Corporation and The Food Trust for working with us to make this possible.”

District E Councilmember James A. Gray II said, “When you look for reliable indicators that a community is making a comeback, you can’t get a better barometer than the opening of a new Whole Foods Market.  This new complex on Broad and Bienville Streets will provide both fresh food and jobs for the community, and will serve as a magnet for continued business development and housing revitalization in the mid-city neighborhood.”

In keeping with Whole Foods Market tradition, the Broad St. store is customized for the surrounding community and features local cultural flair and repurposed materials which include:

  • Healthy eating classes and events onsite and in the community
  • Repurposed pallet wood used on columns and throughout the store
  • Salvaged “Peace” building graffiti panels installed in store
  • Electric vehicle charging stations and bike fix-it station
  • Two healthy eating educators on-site to answer questions, craft recipes, and host tours
  • NOLA-specific reusable better bag
  • Local French Truck Coffee at the coffee bar
  • More than 330 local products including more than 115 items in the bakery, 82 items in the Whole Body department, and 80 products in the grocery aisles
  • Original terrazzo floor featured throughout the store
  • Original grocery store letters from a previous tenant used in the “NOLA pride” accent above the entrance

Art-o-mat to feature “art to go” with local art available

 
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Last updated: 6/20/2014 6:52:06 PM

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