Construction is set to begin on a new Robert Fresh Market (www.robertfreshmarket.com) at 2222 St. Claude Ave. in the Marigny, city officials announced Jan. 25.
"This is a clear sign of rebirth and progress for the Bywater and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a prepared statement.
The building — vacant since Hurricane Katrina — will be renovated to house a full-service grocery store as early as December 2017.
The project is made possible, in part, by funding from the city's Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), a program designed to increase access to fresh foods in underserved neighborhoods while providing employment opportunities. The program provides financial assistance to retail businesses through forgivable or low-interest loans to grocery stores and other fresh food retailers. Circle Foods Store, the Mid-City Whole Foods Market and Dryades Public Market all received partial funding from FFRI.
"Projects like this create jobs, generate taxes, bring vacant properties back into commerce and reinvigorate neighborhoods," Landrieu said. "We look forward to more fresh food store openings in neighborhoods throughout the city."
"We've created a concept that upholds the integrity and authenticity of the area while bringing the neighborhood a fresh, full-service grocery they need," Robert Fresh Market's CEO Marc Robert II said.
The grocery store will employ 30 full-time and 50 part-time employees, and an additional 150 jobs will be created through the construction process, the statement said.