Caterer and restauranteur Joel Dondis has purchased the former open-air marketplace at 1911 Magazine St. for $2 million. He plans to develop it into a large banquet hall to host wedding parties and corporate events.
Dondis runs Sucré, La Petite Grocery, Grand Isle Restaurant, operates a catering and special events business.
The 12,100-square-foot building bounded by Magazine, Camp and St. Mary streets, is on the site of what was once the Magazine Street Market, which dates back to the 1850s. In 1931, the structure was renovated under the federal Works Progress Administration to turn it into an indoor establishment, which stayed in operation until the late 1950s. Most recently, the building was home to a printing shop.
Dondis purchased the building in October for $2 million from 1911 Magazine LLC, a business entity representing the estate of the late Jane G. Prechter. He is working with architect Robert Bodet and general contractor Lanaux Construction of New Orleans.
Andrea Arons Huseman with Corporate Realty represented the seller.
After the renovation, the building will be named Il Mercato. The building’s Spanish-style architectural features will be restored to the original look. The building’s small parking lot will be converted into an outdoor courtyard lined with stucco walls and wood and iron gates.
CityBusiness reports that Dondis will spend about $750,000 on restoration and new construction, which includes new electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems. Once the facility is functional, Dondis said he would put about another $750,000 into the building to install kitchen facilities.
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