“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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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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