ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Attracting commercial development to the former Hodges Stockyard site has proven to be a tough proposition for the city of Alexandria.
New Orleans-based Sterling Farms had been courted by Alexandria officials to open at the stockyard, but the grocery company recently announced it is closing its flagship store in the Jefferson Parish community of Marrero.
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy told The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/1jIvHZT) the city still prefers a development anchored by a grocery store, and he hasn't given up on Sterling Farms.
Alexandria officials purchased the 14-acre stockyard property in 2009 in hopes of spurring development.
The first segment was the Gates at River Chase, a 56-unit apartment complex built by New Horizons Development on six acres of the site.
The commercial component, though, has hit several snags.
"We are still in discussions with them and will remain so," Roy said. "They reached out to us to explain a little more about their side of it. I won't get into a private party's business, but I will tell you it does not impact our talks with them here," he said.
Sterling Farms opened last year under celebrity owner Wendell Pierce. Pierce is an actor best known for his roles on the TV series "The Wire" and "Treme."
The City Council rejected a proposal by New Horizons in August 2011 to add a second apartment complex and build a strip mall on the property after several residents spoke against further residential development on the site. Proponents argued the area needed more housing to support a commercial development.
Later, the council approved a plan by New Horizons founder David Strange to add townhomes, a small plaza with space for retail tenants and an 8,000-square-foot building to accommodate the hoped-for grocery store. But he was unable to secure the tax credits needed to make the project financially workable.
The latest setback came in 2013 when a plan to locate a pharmacy in a future commercial development fell through.
Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com