Things are looking up at Riverwalk. The 200,000-square-foot mall sits along the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans. The property reopened about one year ago after sustaining some damage during the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005, is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion in damage.
“The wind took everything,” says Ryan Bordenave, a spokesperson for Riverwalk. “Business is at about two-thirds of what it totaled pre-Katrina — and inching up.”
The mix of retail there is changing, with owner General Growth seeking bigger, national retailers to add to those it already has — including Gap, Chico's and Banana Republic — replacing the smaller, locally-run gift boutiques that went out of business.
“They can sustain business better,” Bordenave says of the chains.
Regardless, Bordenave says, redevelopment is a 10- to 15-year process.