Strong interest seen in former River Park site now up for sale | Business

An agents who has the listing for the River Park property near Hollywood Casino said Thursday he is in active discussions with five or six parties who are interested in the 23.5-acre site along the Mississippi River formerly proposed for a mixed-use development.

“The interest level is strong,” said Gordon McLeod with The McEnery Co., a New Orleans firm.

In September, 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark ruled against River Park developer Pete Clements in a four-year-long battle first brought against him by First NBC Bank. Girod LoanCo took over the battle after the failure of First NBC. Clark ruled that Clements owed the lender more than $19 million in principal and interest payments, stemming from a 2008 loan he took out on the property.

Bank trying to force River Park Development into bankruptcy

Clements spent years and millions of dollars trying to develop the tract next to Hollywood Casino. At one point, he teamed up with the casino to build a railroad underpass to improve access to the land.

Clements went before the Downtown Development District in September 2013 to discuss plans for River Park. At the time, he said financing was nearly lined up and a groundbreaking should be held before the end of the year. He said the development would include 18 local and national restaurants, two live music venues, residences, hotels, a park and a boardwalk along the river. However, that never happened and three years later, First NBC was trying to force him into bankruptcy. 

The property has been permitted as a planned unit development, with about 500 hotel rooms, 1,100 multifamily housing units, 400,000 square feet of retail space and up to 600,000 square feet of office space. The new owner could change up the mix of hotel, multifamily, office and retail space to meet the demands of the market.

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McEnery has set a November 15 deadline to take offers on the land.

“It’s a generational piece of property,” McLeod said. “They’re not making any more land with that kind of proximity to the Mississippi River. It just takes some patient capital to take the time and figure out what kind of development should go there.”

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