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White Star Market closes permanently among coronavirus casualties

5 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 March 31, 2020 4:42 PM March 31, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- White Star Market permanently closes its doors amid coronavirus closures, the Baton Rouge Business Report says.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ March 16 executive order requiring all bars, restaurant dining rooms, and health clubs to shut down had already delivered a blow to several White Star eateries. 

The mid-city eatery has notified its landlord that it will not reopen, even after the governor's stay-at-home order has been lifted.

Josh Hoffpauir, architect and co-owner of the development on Government Street received a letter on March 27 from White Star Market's owner, Clark Gaines, stating that because of the pandemic, the food hall is permanently closed.

“Based on the COVID-19 pandemic and the proclamations that have been issued, we could no longer operate our food hall at Square 46, nor could our vendors sustain themselves," Gaines says in a statement to Daily Report.

Gaines also says that he was denied rent abatement when he requested it.

“Based on Louisiana law and the fact that I cannot operate a restaurant in the leased premises, we had no choice but to terminate the lease,” he says. “All of us are suffering through this catastrophic pandemic, especially those in the restaurant industry like White Star and its hard-working, loyal food vendors.”

Hoffpauir says Gaines did request a six-month rate abatement and that he and his partners denied the full six months, however, he says they were willing to work with him on rent, taking it one month at a time.

“We sent him an email saying, ‘… we are willing to work with you on rent. We knew this was going to cause issues … we believe we should look at this on a month-to-month basis but cannot agree to six months right now.'”

As for the restaurants inside of the dining hall, some, like Dat’s Italian, had decided to shut down permanently, according to its website.

Gov't Taco will relocate to its new brick-and-mortar location on Government and Cloud streets when it is completed.

ThaiHey, which just opened in White Star in January, attempted to do takeout and delivery service for the first few days after the executive order, but then moved to a site in Spanish Town, where it is now operating.

The closure of White Star Market follows almost two years after the opening of the food hall in May of 2018. 

Seeing a lot of turnover throughout the two years, the dining hall had several tenants, some only lasting 2 weeks, which Gaines says is not unusual for these types of establishments.

The 25,000 square foot building was listed for sale in December for $5 million. In addition to the soon to be vacant space, 3,000 square feet of retail space is available, as well as 6,700 square feet of office space.

Hoffpauir says all but one of the eight apartments, originally marketed as condos for sale, are leased.

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