The Bohn Zone (Mid-City)

Addresses: 401 N. Carrollton Ave.
Owner: Victory Real Estate Investments, LLC d.b.a. Mid-City Carrollton Investors, LLC
OPBOA Assessed Property Value: $3,695,100
Unoccupied Since: 2005
Damage Assessment: Unknown
Status: No Current Code Violations

While the lots around it changed hands numerous times through the end of the 19th century, the first record in the New Orleans Real Estate Office for 401 N. Carrollton Ave is dated December 26, 1903. It is not an original document, but a form filled out in the last couple of decades reflecting information taken from an act of sale for which they do not have a copy. It shows that on that date, the New Orleans Terminal Company acquired the property, and began laying track there. As the acquisition was only two years after the company’s founding in 1902, it is possible that the lot was part of their first set of tracks, running from New Orleans to Chalmette. Regardless, the remnants of the line can still be seen on the properties just west of the 401 Carrollton Ave. lot, as well as along St. Louis St, intermittently, all the way to the Tremé.

The tracks were still there the next time the property changed hands, almost a hundred years later, in 1995. It was in this year that Romerebo, Inc. the company behind the Bohn Zone, a chain of car dealerships across the metro area. Bobby Bohn was the owner at the time and, once the tracks were cleared, he used a loan from Ford to build the dealership that still sits vacant on the lot.

Bobby no longer works at the Bohn Zone and, according to his brother, who now runs the operation, is difficult to get in touch with. However, he was still in charge during the storm, when according to some f the sales staff, they lost their entire stock of cars at their Mid-City location to over six feet of water. Unfortunately, they were neither they nor Bobby’s brother were able to speak to efforts by the Bohn’s to rebuild the store. To try and infer from a trip to the location: the interior does appear to have undergone some renovation, though the tipped over port-o-potty and the lack of any filed final inspections implies that work hasn’t been going on for some time.

In addition, in 2007, the property was sold to Victory Real Estate Investors, a Georgia company doing business under the name Mid-City Carrollton Investors, LLC, as well as a number of other similar names in Orleans Parish, for $8.5 Million. Along with the Bohn Zone, Victory purchased a number of other properties, stretching from Solomon St. to Jefferson Davis Pkwy, most notably, the properties across the street that were redevelop as a Rouses and Home Depot, and the old Lindy Boggs Medical Center.

While, according to a Times-Picayune article, their initial plans for the properties were retail and residential development, it seems that a tanking real estate market made finding investors or occupants difficult. In addition, there was some dispute with the neighborhood as to the property’s final use. According to Jennifer Farwell, president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, they were initially planning on putting in a Wal-Mart, which the neighborhood opposed, largely on the grounds that Victory was unreceptive to working or even communicating with the MCNO as they develop their plans. City records show that, in 2008, Victory successfully applied for a demolition permit for the property, though two years later, the property is still standing. Victory has also been reluctant to answer or return any phone calls regarding the property, though the Vice-President’s secretary asked if our phone calls were about leasing, the times someone answered the phone. The property is also still listed on their website, under the dropdown menu for development.

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