An Amazon store in Lakeside? Permit sought, but company strategy raises questions – NOLA.com

An Amazon store in Lakeside? Permit sought, but company strategy raises questions – NOLA.com

Shopping inside Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie just before Christmas on Thursday, December 23, 2021. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)
Shopping inside Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie just before Christmas on Thursday, December 23, 2021. (Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)
On the same day that retail behemoth Amazon filed a permit to remodel a retail space at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, the company announced it was shuttering many of its retail stores, including the ones that typically would go into malls. 
A permit application filed in Jefferson Parish on March 3 sought permission to remodel 4,657 square feet of retail space at Lakeside for “retail use.” The permit listed “Amazon” as the business seeking the approval, which would have demolished a previous retailer’s space and installed new “storefront, partitions, doors, lighting” and other elements. 
A Seattle-based architectural firm is listed on the permit as the architect of the project.
The parish received just over $4,100 in permit fees with the application, which valued the renovation at about $677,320.
That same day, however, several media reports recounted Amazon’s decision to shutter 68 brick-and-mortar retail stores, including ones known as Amazon 4-Star, Pop Ups and Amazon Books. Many of those, especially the 4-Star stores, carried toys and homegoods that were highly rated on Amazon’s website. The 4-star stores, as well as the Pop Up kiosks, are often found in malls.
Instead, the reports said, the company was going to focus on Whole Foods Markets, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Go and Amazon style stores. Amazon is also going to devote energy to its cashierless technology, the reports said.
Mall officials decline to comment on the permit application. Messages left for comment with both Amazon and the architectural firm Friday were not returned. 
Unlike many malls across southeast Louisiana, Lakeside Shopping Center has continued to thrive. Located near three major traffic thoroughfares, it has bucked trends that have overtaken other malls like the Esplanade in Kenner and Northshore Square Mall in Slidell and has remained a potent economic engine in Jefferson Parish. 
“Lakeside Shopping Center is an economic powerhouse with Jefferson Parish,” Chamber President Ruth Lawson said, citing it as a key source of sales tax revenue.
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Email Faimon Roberts III at froberts@theadvocate.com.
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