By David Hammer
The Times-Picayune

The three-year roller-coaster ride of the blighted Gentilly Woods Shopping Center site has come down to this: The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority thinks the shopping center is worth $400,000 more than Wal-Mart does, and the world’s largest retailer isn’t fully on board with the city’s requests for working with small, minority-owned businesses.

Kevin Hanna, NORA’s director of commercial development, said Thursday that negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have accelerated in recent weeks and that he hopes for a final agreement on the purchase of the Gentilly shopping center by Christmas.

But his report got a lukewarm reception from NORA board members who feel backed into a corner by the Wal-Mart deal.

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