“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 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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