Dilapidated store site to be sold, rehabbed and rented
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — The manager and minority owner of the Guarisco-Evans Shopping Center in Morgan City has agreed to sell the facility to a Morgan City businessman, who plans to remodel and rent out the facility.
Anthony J. Guarisco Jr., representing Guarisco-Evans Shopping Center LLC, told the city council during a special meeting Tuesday that he has decided to sell the property between the Medicine Shoppe and Mike’s Flooring & Paint to Sidney B. Moffett of Moffett Rentals LLC in Morgan City.
The council held the meeting to hear any appeal from Guarisco regarding the condemnation of the building. The city council agreed to begin the process at its October council meeting. The building in question has been infiltrated by vagrants and subjected to graffiti, and its roof is collapsing.
Numerous attempts in the past to get Guarisco to make repairs to the building have proven unsuccessful, city leaders have said.
The council agreed during its special meeting for Guarisco, or Moffett if he has purchased the property at the time, to appear at the regular council meeting on Nov. 22 and give a timetable on the facility’s rehab.
Guarisco said he and Moffett have come to terms on a sale, which Guarisco will finance.
The property owner said he intends to sell the piece of property as soon as he can. However, he will maintain ownership of the Medicine Shoppe facility, which is just to the west of the unkempt property.
Moffett, who addressed the council during the meeting, said he has experience renovating properties and “bringing them back to life.”
He showed the mayor and council before and after photos of some of the properties he has previously completed.
“I know in my heart I can fix it,” Moffett told the council.
While components of the building are in jeopardy of being a safety hazard, Moffett said that the facility, as a whole, is structurally sound.
“The building is, quite honestly, as good as the day it was put up,” he said.
Moffett said he plans to have the facility available for rent in six months.
“I’d like to see you start yesterday,” councilman Lou Tamporello told Moffett.
City Planning Director Carl Kraemer said he and Moffett have had in-depth discussions about the facility and that the plans that Moffett proposes all meet the city’s zoning ordinances.
“This whole project comes down to being able to have the resources and the finances to be able to dump into it to bring it back to life, and it can be brought back to life if you have those resources,” Kraemer said.
Moffett said he plans to have the facility ready for rental no more than six months after his insurance is in place and the sale is complete.
The city’s ordinance related to condemnations requires that once the city agrees to condemn the property or allow for repairs, these must be made within 60 days.
However, the council can choose to hold off making a decision until they know that Moffett would have enough time to complete the repairs in the allotted time, as per the ordinance, Aucoin said.
“What I didn’t want to happen tonight … is I didn’t want it to get condemned by the mayor and council because I don’t know how to uncondemn it,” Guarisco said.
In other action, the council unanimously agreed to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the parish to implement a combination of state capital outlay funds and CDBG funds for Phase 3 of the Martin Luther King Jr. project. The project, which will involve resurfacing on the roadway’s northbound and southbound lanes from the Comfort Inn and Suites to Business 90, is expected to cost $700,000.