Cedric Martin has been a somewhat regular attendee of Delachaise Neighborhood Association meetings over the last year, but when he walked into the room Tuesday night — as the first signs of construction begin to show at the Baronne Street site where he is rebuilding the original Martin Wine Cellar — he was met with applause and cheering.
“Thank you,” Martin said quietly as he sat down, to which one member replied: “Thank you for starting construction.”
Martin first told the association that he would begin construction this year back in August, and a week ago, the company issued a news release confirming that work was planned to begin this week. So far, the signs have been very preliminary — such as a power pole being erected, and a few construction vehicles arriving — but after years of inactivity, neighbors were encouraged.
Martin’s update to neighbors Tuesday was brief. He didn’t have construction drawings in hand, but said the store will look much like the plans he showed in 2010 — minus a second floor. Parking and the entrance will be on the Peniston side of the lot, and he also plans to offer outdoor seating for deli customers.
For now, Martin plans to keep the Magazine Street store open as well, he said. In the meantime, he said he is as eager to see the opening of his family’s original location as everybody else.
“I wish they could work seven days a week,” Martin said.
Neighbors have long seen the site as a vital component of the rebuilding of a small commercial corridor along Baronne Street, which already includes the new Cleaver & Co. butcher and Brewstock, a homebrewing supply store.
“I for one am just thrilled,” said association member Sue Speegle after Martin spoke.
“We’re very excited,” echoed association president Dodd Denton.
The store is expected to open in late 2014, the company has said.