NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owner of one of New Orleans’ best-known music bars has agreed to spend at least $12 million to turn a vacant riverboat casino dock into an outdoor music venue and high-end retail center.
The planned Tipitina’s development on 4.5 acres of vacant lakefront in eastern New Orleans would expand the brand created in 1977.
Tipitina’s was established as a “neighborhood juke joint” to provide a place to perform for Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as pianist Professor Longhair, according to the website for the bar and associated charitable foundation.
A group headed by Tipitina’s owner Roland von Kurnatowski signed an agreement recently with an Orleans Parish agency, NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/1lMKUwX) reported.
Studio Network-Lakefront LLC first pitched the idea in January to the Orleans Parish Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority.
Since then, two water park features were replaced in the plans with more bars, restaurants, and a possible nightclub.
The agreement sets up a 50-year lease between the authority and developers, which want to create a festival park as anchor for bars, restaurants, shops and a nightclub. There’s an option to extend the lease another 49 years.
Studio Network-Lakefront could pull out if it doesn’t have zoning permits and other government approvals by the end of 2016, but it would forfeit a portion of the $65,000 due over the agreement’s first 18 months.
In exchange for development rights, the company would pay a flat monthly fee, plus 1.15 percent of gross revenues generated from the property once operations begin.
The management authority asked last year for proposals to redevelop the property, which was left abandoned after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The only proposal was from Studio Network-Lakefront.
Kurnatowski agrees to spend at least $6 million to renovate the abandoned South Shore Harbor Terminal, add a fuel dock and convenience store for the neighboring marina, build an amphitheater and open space for a restaurant.
A second phase, to be completed within five years, calls for an additional $7 million to add live music, a nightclub, recording studio, shops and additional bar and restaurant space.
A possible phase three could include an “educational facility,” museum or, if the management authority agrees to them, other features not yet proposed.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com