May 9, 2013 -- The Food Trust, along with partners Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and Hope Enterprise Corporation, were on site for the groundbreaking of a new, healthy food hub in New Orleans. The ReFresh Project, which features Whole Foods Market as the redevelopment anchor, is located at Broad and Bienville streets.
The project is developed by Broad Community Connections, a non-profit organization working to revitalize Broad Street from Tulane Avenue to Bayou Road, and L+M Development Partners, a developer of affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing.
Whole Foods will move into the space previously occupied by Robert's Fresh Market and Schwegmann's grocery, which has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina. Other tenants include Liberty's Kitchen, a non-profit that provides culinary training to at-risk youth and meals to public schools, and Tulane University's Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, where residents, students and doctors will learn how to use healthy cooking to avoid food-related diseases. Indoor and outdoor community space for gardening, fitness and education classes will also be created.
Funding for the ReFresh Project came through several different outlets. The New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, managed by The Food Trust and HOPE in partnership with the City, provided $1 million in financing to Broad Community Connections, with as much as $500,000 forgivable. The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority added $900,000 through its Commercial Corridor Revitalization program, with additional money coming from New Market Tax Credits, Goldman Sachs, Chase, the Foundation for Louisiana, Newman's Own Foundation and La Raza. In addition, the Low Income Investment Fund provided loan funds from the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
“Access to fresh foods and produce is vital to improving the health of our residents. The FFRI program is improving the quality of life for our residents and will make New Orleans a healthier city,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo.
Whole Foods plans to open the Broad Street location by December 2013.