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Developers Expect Lease

Lincoln Beach Developers Expect Lease in January
By Jaime Guillet Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS – The $435-million Lincoln Beach redevelopment project in eastern New Orleans is taking longer than expected, but the lead private developer says he anticipates a lease with the city of New Orleans “any moment now.”

“The project is moving forward,” said Rickey Spearman, president of primary developer Nolatown Inc. “We have worked diligently with the city to identify and address any issues, existing or potential, which could arise with a project of this magnitude. The mayor and his designee, Sean Cummings, Councilwoman Williard-Lewis, Sen. Ann Duplessis and All Congregations Together director Mary Fontenot were very instrumental in pointing out public-interest concerns which would had to have been addressed prior to commencement of the project.

“At this point, we eagerly anticipate executing a lease with the city,” Spearman said. “We look forward to providing the employment opportunities for several hundred New Orleanians during the construction stage, and many more afterwards.”

Cummings, CEO of the city agency that coordinates development of city-owned property, the New Orleans Building Corp., said the city is currently “drafting a lease, pursuant to the terms of the letter of intent,” with Nolatown Inc., even though the city’s letter of intent with Nolatown actually expired Aug. 24.

In January, the city issued an letter of intent with Nolatown and gave the developers 180 days to present a comprehensive description of the development and financing details. It is unclear whether Nolatown provided that description. District E Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis says she will be asking for a “complete update” on the development’s status from Cummings at the next NOBC meeting, because she is “very anxious to get the project moving.”

“The slow movement has been in deference to Nolatown and its ability to get funding,” said Willard-Lewis. “We have been painfully patient, but I am running out of patience. Either come up with the money or the city should get its own financing. I hope (Nolatown) is successful. (Lincoln Beach) is a state cultural project, it’s an environmental treasure — it’s the only white sandy beach in the area — it’s a tourism spot, it’s an important spot in the community.”

Spearman says all “financing is there and the funding is in place.” He says his national group of private developers that make up Nolatown, which includes Glenn Broom, Kemic A. Smothers, Norberto Nardi and Eugene Radcliff, are waiting patiently on the city to formulate a lease.

Lincoln Beach originally was built as an amusement park for blacks during segregation. Nolatown developers want to transform the 15-acre Lincoln Beach site along Lake Pontchartrain and a 10-acre site south of the beach across Hayne Boulevard into a recreational water park.

Nolatown’s vision is to create green space; an entertainment complex; gathering areas with cultural themes; recreational, commercial and hospitality areas; housing and residential facilities and support areas; and a commuter train stop. Housing would include 400 condos and a 500-vehicle parking garage.

The next NOBC meeting will be in the first two weeks of the new year, Cummings said.

Seek Holland Expertise

Lincoln Beach developers seek Holland expertise
By CityBusiness staff report

NEW ORLEANS – An architect involved in the redevelopment of historic Lincoln Beach in eastern New Orleans said he has traveled to the Netherlands to talk to a consultant about the project.

Norberto Nardi, principal of Monrovia, Calif.-based Nardi & Associates, a development partner in the project, said he met with DHV Group in Holland, a specialist in waterfront development.

Heading up the roughly $300-million project is Nolatown Development Group.

On Friday, Dick Kevelam, principal of DHV and manager of its water division, met in New Orleans with Nolatown principals Rickey Spearman, Kemic Smothers, Glenn Broom and Nardi to discuss the viability of the project and tour the site, Nolatown said. Also in attendance was Greg Rigamer, president of New Orleans planning firm GCR & Associates Inc., who is studying the project for Nolatown.

The city has given Nolatown first rights to the Lincoln Beach site, Nolatown said.

Nolatown said it plans to “establish a ‘pedestrian-first’ approach, connecting the retail, music, food and hospitality to downtown New Orleans while making an effort to restore the city to its world-class status.”

Lincoln Beach Redevelopment

Lincoln Beach to be redeveloped under $300M plan
By CityBusiness staff report

NEW ORLEANS – A team of developers plans to resurrect historic Lincoln Beach in New Orleans East under a $300-million project.

Nolatown Development Group of Atlanta said it will sign an agreement with New Orleans city government to oversee the mixed-use development. The project is funded entirely by private investment.

Developers are Rickey Spearman, Glenn Broom, Kemic Smothers and Nevada-based International Performance Packaging Co. CEO Carey Smith. IPPC is partnering with Nolatown on the Lincoln Beach redevelopment.

“I strongly believe that the resurrection of Lincoln Beach will restore hope to those who have lost so much and it will represent a symbol of prosperity to those who kept the faith,” Spearman, the chief developer, said.

The 16-acre Lincoln Beach site on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain and a 10-acre parcel to the south of the beach across Hayne Boulevard is envisioned to be a “recreational cultural water park.”

Norberto Nardi & Associates is the architect.

The project is expected to include open green space; gathering areas with themes based on the city’s culture; recreational, commercial and hospitality areas; housing and residential community facilities and support areas; and a commuter train stop.

Specific ideas call for a New Orleans entertainment complex with exhibit areas, a performance hall that can seat 1,000, an outdoor ampitheater that can seat 3,000, a New Orleans Institute for the Arts facility and a Plaza of Cultures.

Recreational areas will include an amusement park, a children’s musical park with interactive learning and participation areas, a festival grounds area, rest and picnic areas and wetlands and botanical gardens “that emphasize principals of sustainability and low-impact development.”

Commercial and hospitality areas include a Fisherman’s Wharf Village with retail and restaurants, a Land Hotel with 300 rooms in six levels, a conferencing center with meeting rooms and banquet facilities, a “Boat-el” – which is a sports hospitality center for boat and hotel room rental – and a 100-room marina on the lake.

Housing would include 400 condos and a 500-vehicle parking garage.

Plans also call for a security and administration center with 300 surface parking spaces and a 1,700-vehicle covered parking garage.

The site would also include a community train station to support mass transit systems and alleviate gridlock.

The project will follow sustainable design principles under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Construction will also take into account hurricane and flood disaster planning.