NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An executive with the company that owns the Riverwalk Marketplace says it won't join city-selected developers to turn the former Six Flags theme park into an upscale outlet mall.
New Orleans CityBusiness (http://bit.ly/W7p3RZ ) reports that the rejection came when David Garcia, who represents the business chosen to develop the Six Flags site, publicly called on Riverwalk owner Howard Hughes Corp. to work with his group to save the plan.
Garcia then told New Orleans' Industrial Development Board on Tuesday that the market cannot support both proposals.
Howard Hughes Corp. owns the Riverwalk and is turning it into an outlet mall.
Hughes Corp. senior vice president Mark Bulmash says 55 percent of the Riverwalk property planned for the outlet mall is leased to retailers and another 25 percent is awaiting signatures.
Garcia, at the IDB meeting, publicly called on Howard Hughes Corp. to work with his group on a deal to save the Six Flags outlet mall project. He acknowledged, however, that Hughes is under no obligation to do so.
Garcia said his team was surprised to learn last summer that Howard Hughes Corp. had already conducted advanced negotiations with tenants envisioned for Six Flags. Those tenants didn't bite at the idea of opening second stores for free rent, he said.
"The key point is there are a number of leader tenants that everybody else follows," Garcia said after the meeting. "To (Howard Hughes Corp.) credit, they were ahead of us. They've been working on this behind the scenes well in advance of us getting started."
Garcia, meanwhile, is waiting to see construction begin at Riverwalk until completely laying the Six Flags project to rest.
Hughes still has not announced a new construction timeline after backing off its initial December forecast, but Bulmash said soon-to-be-finalized legal technicalities pertaining to ground leases are all that's standing in the way.
Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com