The TP's Richard A. Webster reports that the proposed and quite controversial community-oriented Cuban chain Habana Outpost? which is absolutely dreaded and loathed by some very vocal FQ/Treme residents? is bound for the Vieux Carre Commission's consideration. Again. The restaurant/bar, which is proposed for an abandoned gas station and vacant building at Rampart and Esplanade, has spent the past year bouncing back and forth between the VCC Architectural Review Committee and the actual VCC four times due to design revisions. The project is spearheaded by NYC transplant Sean Meenan, who already has an Outpost in NYC and Malibu, has spent $1.7 million on the buildings, and has even purchased a house nearby on Esplanade.
The project is now schedule to be considered by the full committee at their May 21 meeting, and then most likely go back to the ARC so they can see "further developed drawings" in the continuation of their tireless ping pong game. And by tireless, Eater means NO ugly Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville tire swing bar chairs are allowed in the next design revision, y'all.
Opponents, such as the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, have continued to protest the project, considering it a "mega project" (it will have indoor/outdoor seating for 233, less than the 400 previously reported) that would better fit in on the Riverfront ie. Jimmy Buffet tireville. But in reality, Habana Outposts seems to emit more of a community do gooder vibe than a frat party one.
On top of the seemingly endless design revisions, the last ARC meeting featured a lap top malfunction, raising tension in the room packed with opponents, who had come to see the plans and couldn't. After the malfunction was fixed, a lawyer practically threatened to sue Meenan if he found their documents weren't properly signed and stamped by the VCC.
Meenan's real estate agent, Robert Ripley, who also works across the street from the proposed site, says, "In the past three weeks there have been over four dozen police reports in blocks surrounding the area... If we're going to maintain the residential nature of the French Quarter, we have to have anchors like this commercial business to improve on public safety."
· Habana Outpost Project Sent to Vieux Carre Commission for Approval Despite Claims it Will Damage the French Quarter [NOLA.com]
· All Habana Outpost Coverage [-ENOLA-]
[Photos: Google Maps/Habana Outpost]