Chalmette Revitalization Includes New Shopping Destination

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor With a rich heritage and eventful history, Chalmette is now pursuing a slow but sure path to economic recovery, as people and businesses return to the blighted neighborhood. That includes a new shopping destination, which will be [...]

With a rich heritage and eventful history, Chalmette is now pursuing a slow but sure path to economic recovery, as people and businesses return to the blighted neighborhood.

That includes a new shopping destination, which will be located at 8400 W. Judge Perez Drive, in the heart of St. Bernard parish. Redevelopment of the former Schwegmann’s site is part of a bigger plan to revitalize the entire Chalmette commercial strip.

Businessman Hammy Halum, joined in the venture by his father, Damin Halum, and a third investor, Chun Po “Jimmy” Cheung, took on the challenge to return the distressed property to profit. The partnership purchased the shopping mall from A&S Chalmette L.L.C., a company composed of members of the Schwegmann family, for $1.6 million, as reported by the Times-Picayune.

Major restoration is planned for the 51,000-square-foot building, largely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Workswill include demolition and exterior renovation, replacing of the arches with towers and construction of a new facade with new store fronts, expected to be complete by 2012.

The commercial property is being marketed by Latter & Blum. So far, several national and regional retailers have announced intentions to occupy 16,000 to 20,000 square feet of space in the new venue, and an additional 15 to 20 tenants, mostly clothing retailers, are expected to sign on by the end of August. Other businesses in the area include Napa Auto Parts, Home Depot, Lowe’s, a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a Stage department store and a Dollar General serving not only St. Bernard residents but also shoppers coming from the Ninth Ward and eastern New Orleans.

The Lower Ninth Ward will also get a brand-new full-service supermarket, if the proposal to redevelop the former Holy Cross campus is approved. As advocated by the group of investors interested in the site, the area would be greatly in need of a grocery store; the 25,000-square-foot store would be the anchor tenant of a development planned for opening by the summer of 2013.