“We’re always looking for new locations, but at this time Whole Foods Market has not signed a letter of intent to open a store in Lafayette,” says Kristina Bradford.
So how did the big mix-up happen? Local officials were misled by Dan Muniza, vice president for construction and facilities management for Houston-based firm Fidelis Realty Partners, according to Dee Stanley, Lafayette Consolidated Government’s chief administrative officer. Muniza, for reasons still unknown, approved both the press release city officials put out Wednesday afternoon and City-Parish President Joey Durel’s memo to council members about the proposed ordinance calling for the city to assume control of Ridge Road to help with access, Stanley says. Durel’s memo and release clearly state that Fidelis has a lease with Burlington Coat Factory and a letter of intent with Whole Foods, also noting: “A Fidelis representative has told us they expect formal lease approval from Whole Foods sometime this summer.”
“It was a premature statement from somebody at my office to say that there was [an LOI with Whole Foods],” acknowledges Fidelis Principal Lynn Davis. “Are we having discussions with them? Yes, that’s obvious because the city and the mayor and everybody has been trying to work with us to help us, but it was premature to say there was an LOI executed.”
Davis says Fidelis is purchasing the long-vacant Kmart site and working on redevelopment of it. “We’re buying that property. We’re talking to lots of tenants that would like to go into that property,” she says.
“We intend to close sometime in June. We are under contract. We have gone hard on money, and we have done all of our due diligence.”
So where does the Whole Foods/Kmart deal stand today? Bradford wouldn’t — or couldn’t — say. “I don’t know if that site is one they are looking at, but I know that they are always looking for new locations, and they have not find that currently in the Lafayette market.”
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AUG 22 Blogger Robert Mann is writing about the so-called Edmonson Amendment in this post, and he's not a fan. If Bobby Jindal really does support a "gold standard" of ethics he would have done something - or even said something - and yet he has not, Mann says.
AUG 22 Crazy Crawfish is blogging about the (interesting) incident of the state Education Department's website being out of commission earlier this week. It was reported (with heavy implications) in two local media outlets, and Crawfish feels the stories would have been better had the reporters done a little investigation instead of just printing what they were told.
AUG 22 Blogger Tom Aswell has some advice for state troopers who plan on making any public comments or challenges to the Jindal administration: don't do it. He's telling the story of one trooper who dared to challenge Commander Mike Edmonson's buddy and paid the price for it.
AUG 22 Columnist Clancy DuBos is writing about the upcoming elections in this post on Gambit. The field for local and federal offices has its share of old guys, he tells us, although mostly he's talking about Edwin Edwards.
AUG 22 Columnist Jim Beam is talking about the Office of Group Benefits in this post; that's the office that handles the money collected from state employees to pay their benefits. The OGB reserve fund has been reduced by half in the last year, and the Jindal administration keeps saying that's a good thing - but that's like telling a kid that castor oil is good, Beam says.
AUG 22 Columnist James Gill is writing about dueling efforts over the killing of animals; on one side is a lady trying to avoid the euthanizing of stray cats and on the other is a camp of folk who feel that there are enough black bears in Louisiana for us to start killing them for fun.
AUG 22 One could assume that nobody (teachers included) likes it when politicians tell them how to do their job. So what do teachers think about Common Core? Blogger Michael Deshotels is examining some responses from teachers who were asked. (Spoiler alert: none of these comments will be used in a Common Core marketing campaign.)
AUG 22 This post on The Hill is commenting upon the latest round of "that candidate is the worst person in the world" ads that are running in Louisiana's Senate race. This round takes aim at Bill Cassidy, the physician/Congressman who is challenging Mary Landrieu, and lists all the votes he has cast that hurt veterans.
AUG 21 Tom Aswell is telling us about another "efficiency" contract the state has signed. This one is paying a consultant (i.e. someone with a briefcase from out of town) $140 an hour, plus tens of thousands in air fare. The agency on the receiving end of this tender care? The DMV. Well -- that's working great, then.
AUG 21 Columnist Stephanie Riegel is writing about the scandal that has rocked the LSU Alumni Association (to wit, the executive director's "girlfriend" also was his employee; when they "broke up" he started paying her, with alumni money, to keep her mouth shut). In particular, she's looking for some lessons to learn from the mishigas.
AUG 21 This post on The Lens brings us up to date on the ongoing process of populating the levee board that will decide if the so-called Big Oil lawsuit will move forward. Gov. Jindal has done his best to put the kibosh on the suit by removing pro-suit members, but the process of replacing them is not simple, Bob Marshall tells us.
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