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, 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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