Apple Reportedly Scouting Central New Orleans

March 31, 2011

Just three years after signing a 16-year lease on an impressive corner location along picturesque St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans (La.), Borders Books will close their store, move out and offer the space to other retailers, possibly including Apple. According to the Web site Nola.com, Apple’s real estate team is one of several who have contacted property owner Stirling Properties about the 24,000 square-foot former funeral home at 3338 St. Charles Avenue. The location is south of the usual tourists haunts, and along the tracks of the city’s historic trolley line. The wooden building was seriously water-damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the funeral home closed the next year. In 2007 Stirling purchased the property and spent $9.2 million on a renovation, including $4.5 million in Gulf Zone Opportunity Bonds issued by the federal government after Hurricane Katrina. Borders Books moved in during 2008, but has recently declared bankruptcy, and announced the closing of 200 stores, including the St. Charles Avenue location. The white stone building with a two-story portico dates to 1920 as the Bultman Funeral Home., which had its own notoriety. The property was expanded over the decades to its present 250-foot façade, which was retained in the renovation. According to lease documents, Borders’ lease expires in 2024, and the base rent is $30.25 per square-foot annually, or about $721,000. Read more information about the location: a 2007 formal appraisal of the property (pdf), tax assessor information (pdf), architect’s description of the renovation, and leasing information (pdf).

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob March 31, 2011 at 2009

I feel torn about this. On one hand, it’s a great location that’s directly on both the city’s most-traveled streetcar route and the Mardi Gras parade route, so tons of tourists. It’s near Loyola and Tulane Universities, so tons of students. The Garden District is probably the best place in the city for an Apple Store. It’s a beautiful building and the historic exterior has already been renovated. The inside was gutted so there’d be no concerns about replacing it with Apple’s interior. The existing Apple Store is 10-15 minutes outside of New Orleans, in an area that’s difficult to access because of heavy traffic. Also, the existing ~3-4,000 sq. ft. store has been crowded every time I’ve been in. All of these things make me think it’s a possibility. But 22,000 square feet seems awfully big compared to what Apple’s done in other U.S. cities our size.

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jsalzberg9099 April 5, 2011 at 2049

Don’t forget about the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. That’s the force driving the transformation of the dormant Market St. Power Plant into the new 500,000 sq. ft. Bass Pro Shop — this is in the same neighborhood as the former Borders store.

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NOLA April 28, 2011 at 0425

I don’t want a fucking Apple Store on New Orleans!

If Apple moves in, just watch, they’ll get the same damn reception from everyone.
We like our historic buildings and our mom and pop businesses. Take that fucking shit to Metairie.

Oh and they’ll also be surprised to find that the ghetto is 3 blocks in any direction and our city is 80% black.

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Kent May 15, 2011 at 1549

What a jerk….Why wouldn’t you want COMMERCE in Orleans Parish? Don’t like tax revenues or something? One of our problems is all the retail that’s leaving the parish and going to Metairie leaves nothing in the City except tourism. Did the opening of Wal-Mart on Tchopitoulas kill Magazine Street? No Way.

I for one, loved having Borders in the old Bultman and am sorry they closed. Whoever ends up there won’t make any serious changes to the exterior, so our architecture is safe. Apple may or may not end up there, but it sure beats another empty shell left to rot on our cityscape.

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REAL NOLA May 21, 2011 at 2213

Yes, yes, by all means, let’s keep New Orleans only cool enough for you. Let’s make sure Jefferson friggin’ Parish is collecting the tax revenue on every $2,000 MacBook Pro they sell. I don’t know how long you’ve been in New Orleans, but our history is about a hell of a lot more than just the city’s many mom and pop shops. Ever seen a picture of Canal four decades ago?

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SuperNerd January 23, 2013 at 1009

Stop whining, people. Find a local reseller if you want Apple sales or service without the trek to Metairie.

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