Firehouse Subs, Smoothies & Donuts coming to newly remodeled Belle Terre Marche Shopping Center

Published 7:44 am Saturday, July 22, 2023

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LAPLACE — The newly remodeled Belle Terre Marche Shopping Center is returning to commerce for the first time since Hurricane Ida with the opening of Firehouse Subs and a Smoothie & Donuts shop this fall.

Located on the corner of Belle Terre Boulevard and Airline Highway, the shopping center was acquired by local real estate developer Vedant Vasanji in early 2022. SRSA Realty has been contracted to lease out the center, a process that could take 12 to 24 months. With two businesses currently committed and slated to open before the end of 2023, there are 11 spaces left to fill.

“We are trying to attract businesses that are a good fit for the center and the community,” Vasanji said. “We can configure the building to where one shop can take over three spots. When larger businesses come in, we are able to give them more space. The inside is just vanilla shell, and every bay has ACs and complete bathrooms. We are allowing the businesses to build out the spaces and configure them the way they want to.”

The shopping center has been completely reimagined with energy efficient air conditioners, new electrical panels, new HVAC and plumbing, an improved roofing system, new signage, and a refinished exterior.

“The only things we kept were the studs and the structure, and even that we have kind of bolstered up,” Vasanji said.

Vasanji hopes the center will attract businesses in synergy with the region, especially medical and service retailers. There is also the potential of attracting new food and beverage outlets.

Firehouse Subs will be located at the end of the center. Franchisee Jag Desai already operates two Firehouse Subs locations in Metairie and Covington and has plans to expand to the North Shore and New Orleans. He looks forward to bringing a new dining option to the residents of the River Parishes.

“We actually looked at a couple of sites in LaPlace over the past two or three years. Firehouse has a very stringent criteria for what they will approve as a location. Being on the corner of Belle Terre and Airline was a great match,” Desai said. “I think this is something the people of LaPlace will enjoy.”

Local first responders and the business community will be invited to a live training as new employees learn the ropes. According to Desai, the Firehouse Subs brand gives grants and other resources to first responders throughout the country. The LaPlace store will soon be in contact with St. John the Baptist Parish Fire Services.

“Every Firehouse Subs has its own mural hand-painted by a guy from Jacksonville, Florida, and one of the things in the mural is the local fire truck. We plan to do a luncheon for the local fire department when we do the grand opening, and we will have the fire truck come out,” Desai said.

A Facebook page will be created for the LaPlace location in the coming months.

Also opening in the Belle Terre Marche Shopping Center this fall is Smoothies & Donuts LaPlace, which will offer donuts, smoothies, kolaches, boba tea and coffee. Owner Dana Deth said the location will not only satisfy sweet tooths but will also fill a need in the community that has been present since the Donut Hole moved following Hurricane Ida.

More information will be available on the Smoothie & Donuts LaPlace Facebook page as the opening approaches.

For more information about leasing opportunities within the center, contact SRSA Realty at 504-831-2363.

“This is a very important junction. Most of the people in our community probably pass it once or twice a day,” Vasanji said. “I thought it was a great property for me to pick up, rehab, and restore it to commerce to let our community have a nicer, better building than before.”