Stirling Properties now plans to transform the building’s solid brick facade into a more traditional New Orleans storefront of glass and columns, but the work will take months, Stirling vice president Peter Aamodt told the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association at a meeting Tuesday night. The company hopes to finish construction in July and open the Walgreens later that month or in August, he said.
Although Walgreens plans to move its Tchoupitoulas location to its new Magazine Street store, the company will have options on its lease for the old location for the next 15 years, Aamodt said. Whether Walgreens will attempt to find a new tenant for a sublease or return the property to the shopping center’s owner has yet to be determined, Aamodt said, but reassured the neighbors that it would not go unused.
“They would never leave it vacant, because that’s a source of income,” Aamodt said.
A number of other issues that concern the association also remain undecided — such as the configuration of the parking lot lighting, the plan for deliveries, and the specific local items to be stocked on the shelves — but Walgreens has committed to making the neighbors’ ideas on those topics part of its own planning process, Aamodt said. A drive-through window that some neighbors is non-negotiable, Aamodt said, but he noted that the development has already undergone major changes based on discussions with surrounding neighbors.
“It’s a totally different project now than it was at the start, so we want to thank you for that,” Aamodt said.
The Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association also covered a number of other topics Tuesday at its December meeting, including an occasionally contentious debate about revisions to the organization’s bylaws, and requesting the city tighten zoning restrictions at the DePaul campus and another nearby site. To read our live coverage of the meeting, click “Replay” in the box below.