“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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JUL 22 The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is "a lock" to win the Sun Belt Conference in football, Fox Sports opines in this post. There's a rundown of the other teams in the conference, but ULL is predicted to win the conference, thanks in large part to an "explosive" offense. Is it football season yet?
JUL 22 Columnist Stephanie Grace says Gov. Bobby Jindal may be meeting with state education officials (hey - you mean HIS education officials, don't you, Steph?) but it is clear he's not looking for a solution in the Common Core fracas. Bobby wants an issue he can take on the road, and this one seems to be it, she says.
JUL 22 Columnist Jim Beam finds recent news out of Baton Rouge depressing. It seems every time you turn around there's another mess being uncovered or announced in state government, he says. Say what you want about Congress; in Louisiana we have nothing to brag about, either, he says.
JUL 22 Blogger Tom Aswell reports here that several legislators plan to ask for an investigation of the last-minute action that bumped State Police Commander Mike Edmonson's annual retirement income by $30K. One is gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards, who says he did vote for the amendment, but didn't read it - as he rarely does during the last hours of session.
JUL 22 This is a fascinating piece in the Picayune about the murder of a doctor in her St. Charles Avenue home 50 years ago. It's fascinating because of the mysteries and myths that have swirled around the incident for those decades, and because of the possible connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of interesting names in here, including Ochsner and Marcello, and as usual the comments below the story are nearly as entertaining as the story itself.
JUL 22 LaPolitics examines the news that a bipartisan group of legislators filed court papers Monday asking a judge to decide if BESE followed proper procedure in installing Common Core as the curriculum to be followed by state teachers. The allegation is that BESE didn't do that, by failing to open a comment period and shirking legislative oversight. Great, but where were these guys back when the decision was actually made?
JUL 22 Here's a love letter from New York Daily News' Alex Palmer to Louisiana. In some ways it is the typical tourism article (with pronunciation guides and food definitions) but in another way it goes beyond that to list lesser-known spots to visit for food or tours.
JUL 22 This post on Gambit is an interesting look at an age-old discussion among people who live and work in urban areas - is graffiti property damage or public art? There are a lot of voices in this story, covering a lot of the bases of this conflict.
JUL 21 Education Week's EdWatch blog takes a look at our current snafu over Common Core in this post. To anyone outside the state, we certainly look like a bunch of dummies who can't agree on something as critical as what to teach our kids. That's good - right?
JUL 21 Rob Marciano, a former meteorologist at KPLC in Lake Charles, has been named senior weather guy at ABC, this post on TVNewser reports. In between those gigs he worked for CNN and Entertainment Tonight.
JUL 21 This story on The ABC out of Australia gives Louisiana some international notoriety that we really don't want. According to this story, Louisiana is one of the fastest-disappearing land masses on the planet. The planet. So, obviously we need to hold off on that levee board suit, because making Big Oil mad is much more serious than this.
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