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New Orleans Investments Create Hundreds of New IT, Industrial Jobs

2 May 2014, 6:41 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

New Orleans recently realized a slew of investments worth tens of millions and several hundred new jobs. The investment will also boost the local real estate market, specifically the industrial sector.

Probably the most significant of these investments is TCI Plastics’ 500,000-square-foot logistics expansion at the Port of New Orleans.  Parent company Jensen Cos. announced that the $36.5 million investment will retain 200 existing jobs and create 160 new ones by 2020, with an average salary of $33,400 plus benefits. The project is also expected to generate 183 new indirect jobs, rounding up the total workforce impact to 343 new positions.

TCI will develop the new logistics facility near its existing France Road Wharf hub, within the mega-plastics district the company is creating at an inner harbor cargo site in Gentilly. To accommodate the new structure, as well as future expansions, TCI will spend $3.1 million to acquire 32 acres of land from the Port of New Orleans. TCI will also create a rail spur connecting its facility to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, an investment that is expected to be offset by a performance-based Economic Development Award tax incentive package granted by the state of Louisiana. It is also expected to make use of Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The project is planned for a mid-2014 groundbreaking and completion in the third quarter of 2016.

Also set for a mid-2014 groundbreaking is Agrico Sales’ new 56,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in eastern New Orleans. The $2 million facility will be a relocation and expansion of Agrico’s current manufacturing facility located in Bridge City, Jefferson Parish. The relocation will retain the company’s 35 current employees and add 25 new direct jobs, with average salaries of $40,000 plus benefits.  The project, set to wrap up by the end of the year, is expected to create an additional 421 indirect jobs, as well.

The Louisiana Governor’s Office also announced that 4th Source Inc. will relocate its corporate headquarters from Atlanta to metro New Orleans and establish a new technology and IT services facility in Kenner, La. By 2018, the relocation is projected to create 320 new jobs, with an average annual salary of $50,000 plus benefits, and 412 new indirect jobs.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Port of New Orleans via Facebook.



$3M Senior Center to Replace Katrina-Marred Structure

25 Apr 2014, 4:57 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The city of New Orleans, in partnership with FEMA, has broken ground on the new Carrollton Hollygrove Senior Center at 3300 Hamilton St. in the Carrollton Hollygrove neighborhood, the New Orleans Mayor’s Office announced.  The $3 million center will replace the 1920s-built structure destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The 19,000-square-foot facility will be significantly larger than its 10,200-square-foot predecessor. It will feature a variety of senior day care activities and facilities such as a computer and library room, exercise facility, multipurpose venue for arts and crafts, conference room, commercial-grade kitchen, dining lounge and patio, doctor’s office, examination room and social services office. As with the old facility, the new center will be operated by the New Orleans Council on Aging.

“Carrollton Hollygrove was a vital part of the Carrollton-Hollygrove community before Katrina … as not just a senior center but a community focal point for information, education and services that benefited the entire community,” recalled Executive Director of the New Orleans Council on Aging Howard Rogers III.

Designed by In-Site Developments LLC, the new facility is being constructed by Wharton Smith Inc. with disadvantaged business enterprises Alternative Source Inc., Rufino’s Painting & Construction, Mackie One Construction, A&A Mechanical Inc. and Malone Electrical Service Inc. also involved in the development.

With FEMA having declared the previous structure substantially damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the facility became eligible for a 100 percent cost replacement. As such, FEMA will contribute a significant part of the funding for the new facility, while the rest of the funding, necessary due to increased size, will come from city bond funds.

The Carollton Hollygrove Senior Center is expected to be complete in spring 2015.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of the New Orleans Mayor’s Office.



HMC Nabs Management Contract for Slidell Wingate Inn

19 Apr 2014, 4:53 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Dallas-based Hospitality Management Corp. (HMC) has been appointed manager for the new 82-key Wingate Inn Slidell/New Orleans East.

Located in Slidell, just 30 minutes north of New Orleans, the 2013-built hotel is easily accessed from I-10, making it easy to reach local attractions such as the Infinity Science Center, Oak Harbor Golf Club and Fork Pike State Historic Site. It is also adjacent to Oschner Clinic and within walking distance of shopping and dining. Opened in January 2014, the hotel offers amenities such as a fitness center, an indoor heated pool, a spa tub, a business center, meeting and conference rooms, parking (including some that accommodates buses and RVs), a bar and lounge, a gift shop and laundry facilities. Rooms and suites offer complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.

HMC also manages the Microtel Pearl River in Pearl River, also in the Greater New Orleans area, as well as two other Louisiana hotels: the Crowne Plaza Lafayette Airport in Lafayette and the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gonzales in Gonzales, in the Baton Rouge metro.  The privately owned HMC is one of the oldest independent hotel management firms in the industry. HMC currently manages 24 hotels across the U.S.

In other news, Covington’s Southern Hotel and the city of Covington partnered for a job fair to fill the 27 positions available at the historic boutique hotel set to open in 2014. As previously reported, a group of local investors acquired the Southern Hotel in 2011, along with an adjacent tract, with plans to renovate and return the historic hotel to its original use. The 40-plus key full-service boutique hotel will boast luxury amenities such as a 2,400-square-foot ballroom, spa facilities and a pool.  The hotel will also be home to Ox Lot 9, a restaurant headed by famed chef Jeffrey Hansell.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Hospitality Management Corp.



Stirling Continues Walgreens Developments with 14 KSF Drug Store in Metairie

14 Apr 2014, 6:25 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Future Location of Metairie Walgreens

Stirling Properties has announced plans to develop a new full-service Walgreens drugstore in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. Set to rise at the corner of Veterans and Power boulevards, the proposed drugstore will be built in the Barlon Plaza Shopping Center. The store will be a ground-up relocation of an existing Walgreens located within the shopping center.

The new location will be larger, offering 14,000 square feet of retail space, and will feature a full-service pharmacy and drive-through window. Set to break ground in July and be completed in the first quarter of 2015, the development is expected to contribute to the revitalization of Barlon Plaza and the retail corridor where it is located.

Stirling Properties will provide pre-development services such as lease negotiation, permitting, financing, design, and project and construction management.

Ribboncutting at Terrytown Walgreens

Stirling is the preferred developer for the Walgreen Co. in the Gulf South and has developed multiple Walgreens locations throughout the region. This includes the recently opened full-service Walgreens drug store in Terrytown on the Westbank of New Orleans. The store, which opened in late March, is located on the corner of Terry Parkway and Carol Sue Avenue on the site of the former shopping center anchored by A&P Grocery/Eckerd Drug. As previously reported, the 17,384-square-foot store broke ground in April 2013 and is expected to revitalize this retail corridor, as well.

Stirling also handled the full conversion of the historic former Ed Brauner American Legion Post #307 to a 13,000-square-foot Walgreens marquee store (details here), which opened  a little over a year ago.

Click here for further market data.

Images courtesy of Stirling Properties



Stirling Properties Acquires 256-Unit Luxury Apartment Complex

7 Apr 2014, 2:01 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Stirling Properties has announced the acquisition of Ansley Place, a 246-unit luxury apartment community in Houma, La. Buyer Stirling Communities II L.L.C., a group of investors led by Stirling Properties, closed on the purchase of  the Class A community for an undisclosed amount. The deal included the assumption of an existing HUD 223 (f) loan on the property. The acquisition of Ansley Place has brought the ownership group’s overall portfolio to 1,042 units, all of which are managed by Des Moines-based BH Management Services L.L.C.

Sprawling across 21 acres, the garden-style luxury community comprises 13 two- and three-story apartment buildings, a one-story leasing office and four single-story garage facilities. Amenities include a resort-style swimming pool, fitness center, clubhouse, cyber café, car care center and extra storage. The gated community offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 643 to 1,287 square feet and featuring private patios or balconies, sunrooms and oversize closets.

Stirling Properties officials expect a substantial increase in Houma’s and the surrounding area’s populations over the next few years due to a significant uptick in activity at Port Fourchon, the shipyards of Edison Chouest and Bollinger, as well as expansion projects among important service firms in the Houma area.

“With its excellent location, superior floor plans and premier status in the market, Ansley Place offers our investors a high-quality asset located directly in the path of Houma’s growing economy,” commented Justin Landry, head of multi-family asset management for Stirling Properties.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Ansley Place via Facebook



City Breaks Ground on $9M Lafitte Greenway

1 Apr 2014, 1:30 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, a 2.6-mile multi-use trail and linear park, is now underway, according to the city of New Orleans. The highly anticipated $9.1 million development–bounded by Basin, Lafitte, St. Louis and North Alexander streets–will reclaim for public use an abandoned industrial railway corridor located on the site of the Carondelet Canal, which once provided ships with access to the French Quarter. Development is expected to last 11 months, with a spring 2015 grand opening.

The Lafitte Greenway will connect six historic neighborhoods from the French Quarter to Mid-City and Bayou St. John. The project includes more than 500 trees, rain gardens, native landscaping, crushed stone walking paths, environmental remediation, curb enhancements,  crosswalks, new recreation fields, a 12-foot-wide asphalt path for bicyclists and pedestrians and a bicycle/pedestrian roundabout connecting the greenway to the Jefferson Davis Parkway and Wisner Bike Trails. Lafitte Greenway will also link with bikeways from the French Quarter and CBD, and existing and future bikeways on North Galvez Street, North Broad Street and North Jefferson Davis Parkway. New Orleans currently has 82 miles of bikeways and will surpass 100 miles before the year is out. By contrast, the city only had five miles of designated bike paths prior to Hurricane Katrina.

Designed by Design Workshop and constructed by Durr Heavy Construction, the project is funded by Disaster Community Development Block Grants and Louisiana Recreational Trails Grants. The Lafitte Greenway is part of the Lafitte Corridor Revitalization Plan and is expected to be a catalyst for further development in the area, increase drainage capabilities during heavy rainfalls, provide multimodal alternative transportation and serve as a community gathering and recreational space.

Click here for further New Orleans data.

Image courtesy of the city of New Orleans.



Robért Fresh Market Releases Plans for Marigny Location

25 Mar 2014, 1:31 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Conceptual plans for the much-awaited Fauborg Marigny/Bywater location of Robért Fresh Market have been released and met with the approval of the Historic District Landmark Commission.

The plans, executed by King Retail Solutions (KRS), show a restored Robert Fresh Market on its pre-Katrina site with a receiving gate and fenced-in parking area on Marigny Street.  A new outparcel set to be leased out to a third-party retailer, an additional parking lot accessible from Elysian Fields Avenue and several bike racks are also included in the project. The full-service grocery store will feature skylights and an activated pedestrian area with outdoor seating and a Robert Café. According to Canal Street Beat, construction on the 35,000-square-foot grocery store and 10,000-square-foot outparcel could start in six months.

The project site has been under the exclusive ownership and control of Robért Marketfare St. Claude LLC for almost a year. The company severed ties with its previous landlord in April 2013, gaining ownership of the site bounded by St. Claude, Marigny, Rampart and Elysian Fields as well as access to insurance proceeds for Katrina-related damages. Robért Marketfare immediately expressed its intent to reopen at the location by repairing the historic building that previously housed the grocery store.

The chain had intended to reopen the Marigny location after Hurricane Katrina, but the site’s previous owners, the Schwegman family, refused to make the necessary repairs to the property. Following years of litigation, Robért Marketfare won a lawsuit against the landlord in March 2012.

Robért Fresh Market, a locally owned and operated grocery company, had six stores prior to the 2005 hurricane, all of which suffered extensive damage. Since the storm, the chain has managed to reopen three neighborhood locations: in Metaire (2005), Lakeview (2007) and Uptown (2008).

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Renderings courtesy of Robért Fresh Market



350KSF Phase I of Fremaux Town Center Opens in Slidell

18 Mar 2014, 3:46 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Phase I of Fremaux Town Center, the much-awaited retail development in Slidell, has celebrated its grand opening. Developed by Stirling Properties in a 35/65 joint venture partnership with CBL & Associates Properties Inc., Fremaux Town Center is a two-phase development set to feature 670,000 square feet of retail when completed. As previously reported , the project is located on the site of Summit Fremaux, a 400-acre retail-office-residential mixed-use project that was proposed in 2008 but never started development.

Phase I features 350,000 square feet of retail across 80 acres off I-10. Anchored by Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, T.J. Maxx and Michaels, it features local, regional and national retailers. Others include Panera Bread, PetSmart and Rack Room Shoes. While some tenants will be opening new, first-time locations at Freamux, such as Dick’s, others will be relocating existing locations. For instance, Best Buy will relocate from North Shore Square Mall, off I-12, according to The New Orleans Advocate. North Shore Square Mall has been losing a steady stream of tenants to the new development and is expected to lose more as Fremaux goes fully operational.

While some tenants, such as Kohl’s and Dicks, opened pre-inauguration, others will open after the grand opening. Starbucks and Sport Clip, for instance, will open in the summer, while the 41,000-square-foot LA Fitness will open its first Louisiana location in the fourth quarter.

Phase II of Fremaux will add another 320,000 square feet of retail space when it opens in spring 2015. The Dillard’s-anchored development is set to break ground in the near future, and will contain mostly fashion-oriented retail space. Freamux’s trade area population exceeds 310,000.

According to The New Orleans Advocate, Stirling Properties is considering further development at Fremaux that would add office space, medical offices, town homes and high-end apartments.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Images via Stirling Properties



Starwood Announces Addition of Aloft Brand in CBD Adaptive-Reuse Project

10 Mar 2014, 9:07 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has announced plans to open a 188-key Aloft hotel in the New Orleans Central Business District, converting a historic office building. The project follows a bevy of other successful adaptive reuse projects involving the Aloft brand, such as Aloft Orlando Downtown, Aloft Miami-Brickell and Aloft Dallas Downtown.

Aloft New Orleans Downtown, the brand’s first Louisiana location, will open at 225 Baronne St., within the eponymous office building. The 30-story historic property, owned by 225 Baronne Complex LLC, an entity of New Orleans-based HRI Properties, is currently undergoing redevelopment that is set to transform the dilapidated office structure into a mixed-use project. According to The New Orleans Advocate, the project is worth $100 million.

Upon completion, 225 Baronne will comprise the 188-key Aloft New Orleans Downtown, 192 mixed-income housing units, 2,910 square feet of retail, 6,000 square feet of meeting space and a 356-car public parking facility. At least some of the housing units will be upscale apartments. Units will feature hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and in-unit washer-dryers.  Amenities will include a rooftop swimming pool, fitness facility, multi-purpose room, covered bike parking and on-site management office. The development’s CBD location will ensure excellent access and connectivity for residents and hotel guests to the Crescent City’s world-famous French Quarter, the Mercedes Benz Superdome, jazz clubs and vibrant nightlife, shopping and downtown’s many offices.

Set for completion in the first quarter of 2015, the more than 308,000-square-foot project will be executed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for historic preservation. Roy Anderson Corp., a subsidiary of Tutor Perini Corp., snagged the $61.3 million construction contract for 225 Baronne St. and started work in November 2013. The project also involves the demolition of an adjacent structure, the 919 Gravier Building.

Aloft New Orleans Downtown will be managed by HRI Lodging.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of HRI Properties



Whitney Wyndham Sells for $10.5M

4 Mar 2014, 2:54 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

New Orleans real estate developer, investor and hotelier Joe Jaeger has picked up The Whitney Wyndham Hotel at 610 Poydras St., paying $10.5 million for the asset, reports Canal Street Beat.

The 93-key downtown property was previously owned by a partnership controlled by Robert Weinmann, a Metairie business owner, and Paul Flower, chief executive at Wood Design + Build. The previous ownership had purchased the property from Whitney National Bank in 1999 for $2.5 million and converted it into a hotel.

The 93-key, eight-story former bank building is a National Historic Landmark and a recipient of the 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award. It combines traditional architecture with modern design. Amenities include more than 35,000 square feet of customizable meeting space, with its largest event space seating totaling 1,200 and one meeting room located in the original bank vault. Further amenities include a business center complete with audio-visual equipment, a full-service fitness center, valet parking, a lobby bar, a coffee shop, Wi-Fi throughout the property and on-site restaurant Bistreaux at the Bank, serving original Creole fare.

According to Canal Street Beat, Joe Jaeger owns or has stakes in several downtown New Orleans hotels, such as the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, Hotel Mazarin, Bourbon Orleans Hotel and Crowne Plaza New Orleans, among others. Jaeger also own the MCC Group, a mechanical contracting firm.

In other hospitality news, New Orleans hotels have voted to impose a 1.75 percent extra room charge to generate income for city infrastructure projects and tourism promotion, reports The Times-Picayune. The charge will kick in on April 1 and apply to New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau-member hotels, except eastern New Orleans locations. Seventy-five percent of the tax will be collected by the convention bureau, while 25 percent will go into city coffers to pay for French Quarter infrastructure repairs and public safety. The convention bureau will spend 75 percent of its share on domestic marketing, such as promoting the city as a convention destination and to attract additional air travel service, while the remainder will go toward international marketing efforts.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of The Whitney Wyndham via Facebook







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