Acadiana Business

Yay, Which Wich has a lease!

by Leslie Turk

I rarely use exclamation points, but this is an exception. The IND has confirmed that at least one agreement has been finalized for Ambassador Crossing, the new Whole Foods-anchored shopping center at Settlers Trace Boulevard and Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

"We have an executed agreement for that location and it's slated to open in late 2014," says Hala Habal, communications director for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches. The Dallas-based fast-casual restaurant chain specializes in sandwiches and salads.

The company is known for its unique ordering system, in which customers use red Sharpies to mark up pre-printed menus on sandwich bags. And the sandwiches are pretty darn good, too. Customers select a sandwich from 10 categories, choose the bread, cheese, spreads and toppings. The sandwiches are then prepared and delivered in the personalized sandwich bags.

Habal says the inline Lafayette store will be about 1,600 square feet.

On Monday The IND was forced to retract a story about seven new tenants that had purportedly "committed" to the project, a 108,000-square-foot retail center on 12 acres of land with Whole Foods occupying 36,200 of those square feet. Our story was based solely on an Oct. 10 press release sent to The IND by The Ainbinder Company out of Houston (the release was dated the 11th but sent to us on the 10th), which jumped the gun in making the announcement, as we later learned that at least two tenants, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, haven't signed leases. We're still not sure about J. Crew, Carter's Babies & Kids/Osh Kosh B'Gosh, Massage Envy and Superior Nails. Read the story here.

On Monday we reached out to The Ainbinder Company, asking WTH. Ainbinder, through company rep Jewell Bradford, said of Chipotle: the "lease is not signed yet but they are coming."

We all know it doesn't work that way (and no developer worth his salt puts it out in a press announcement before the deal is signed).

Still no word yet from Ainbinder on why Lee Michaels was included on the list when all it has, according to owner Lee Berg, is a letter of intent. We also asked Ainbinder to explain why the release states that he has commitments from these tenants and which tenants have actually signed leases.

In the meantime we're tracking down the others as well and will update this story as soon as we hear from them.