NEW ORLEANS, LA – As 2013 begins the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Business Alliance hailed the economic development successes of 2012, a year in which the city attracted hundreds of new high tech and retail jobs and drew national accolades as a hub for innovation and business development.
“One of my top priorities as mayor has been to create jobs by bringing companies back to New Orleans and attracting new business development in the city, and we had some big wins in the past year,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Our economy continues to expand and diversify because the word is out that New Orleans is a great place to do business. We’ve laid the groundwork that will bring more good news in 2013.”
Rodrick Miller, President and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the City’s official public-private partnership for economic development, described the past year as a tremendous one for New Orleans.
“We have had several major retail and development wins, many businesses expanding in or into the market as well as launching a 5-year strategic plan, a process that will secure the City’s economic future.” Miller said. “We are fortunate to have strong leadership from both Mayor Landrieu as well as the business community. These public/private partnerships will allow us to continue to set a clear path to position New Orleans as a global business player and a leader nationally for corporate investment. We look forward to a busy and dynamic 2013.”
View map of major retail wins.
Over the past 2½ years, the Landrieu Administration has welcomed more than 3,400 new jobs from businesses like GE Capital, mobile game developer Gameloft, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Construction is underway on a number of major projects set in motion in 2012, and more is set to begin in the coming weeks and months.
"New Orleans is at its highest point, in every economic ranking, in decades,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “ Thanks to leadership in the public and private spheres, New Orleans has not only led the country through the recession, but is also establishing new industries, like digital, that are positioning the city for future growth. Proof positive of this progress is GE Capital, which chose New Orleans in 2012 for its first IT Center of Excellence, over dozens of competing cities from across the USA."
Highlights of the year in economic development include:
New Orleans receives high marks
For the third straight quarter, the Brookings Institution named New Orleans the top-rated metro area in recovering from the recession, according to a report released by the Brookings Institution in December. New Orleans was named the fastest-growing major city in America according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report, and piled up high rankings for IT job growth, overall employment growth and job opportunities. In 2012, New Orleans' tourism industry was recognized nationally and internationally.
City secures major retail development
In May, Mayor Landrieu and the New Orleans Business Alliance announced that national retail giant Costco Wholesale Corporation would build a new, 148,000 square foot retail warehouse at the 14.7-acre site formerly occupied by the Carrollton Shopping Center. The $40 million project will utilize 120 prevailing wage local construction positions and create approximately 200 full and part-time jobs. The new warehouse will sell a wide variety of merchandise, from groceries to home furnishings to clothing. Construction is underway, and the warehouse is expected to open late summer 2013.
In June, Walmart entered an agreement with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to purchase the blighted Gentilly Woods Mall site to develop a new Walmart store to provide the Gentilly neighborhood with low priced shopping on food, home goods and other services. The site, at the intersection of Chef Menteur Highway and Press Drive, has been dormant since Hurricane Katrina. Walmart’s $13.4 million investment in Gentilly will bring an estimated 300 jobs. The Gentilly store is expected to open in early 2014.
In addition, plans for a new 180,000-square-feet Walmart Superstore in New Orleans East at Interstate 10 and Bullard Avenue, which will mark the retail giant’s first store in that community since Hurricane Katrina, continued to advance. The store is expected to create 300 to 350 jobs and is expected to open later in 2013.
In June, Algiers Plaza began a $32 million redevelopment to double retail space on General De Gaulle Drive. The shopping center will house new tenants, including national retailers Ross Dress for Less, Petco and Burke’s Outlet and is expected to be complete by summer 2013.
In September, New Era Cap Company, the largest and fastest growing headwear manufacturer in the United States, opened its 13th flagship store on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans.
Construction is underway for the Mid-City Market located on the North Carrollton Avenue commercial corridor. The 107,710 square foot, Winn-Dixie anchored shopping center will also include Office Depot, Neighborhood Pet Market by Jefferson Feed, Felipe’s Taqueria, Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Pei Wei Asian Diner. Mid-City Market is expected to open in mid-2013.
The City signed an agreement with DAG Development and Provident Realty Advisors to redevelop the site of the former Jazzland/Six Flags theme park in New Orleans East, which has remained abandoned in New Orleans East since 2005, into a 400,000-square-foot upscale outlet mall and entertainment boardwalk. The developers’ due diligence is underway, and the City expects to receive a full development proposal in 2013.
The Office of Economic Development and the New Orleans Business Alliance are also working with developers of the Magnolia Marketplace, a major retail development on Claiborne Avenue near the Harmony Oaks housing development, and the South Market District, a mixed-use retail and residential project downtown adjacent to the new Loyola Streetcar line, to bring these catalytic projects to fruition.
More companies attracted to New Orleans
In February, GE announced that it will open a new Technology Center in downtown New Orleans that brings together IT experts in the areas including hardware and software design, business solutions and networking services to drive excellence for GE’s financial services business.
News of GE’s New Orleans office highlighted the region’s growing technology sector profile. In 2011, Forbes magazine placed the New Orleans metro area at the top of its rankings for IT job growth and the publication Business Facilities ranked Louisiana as a top-ranked digital media leader, noting the contributions of New Orleans as a digital hub. Creative digital companies making their home in the city include Gameloft, one of the largest mobile game publishers in the world; Turbosquid, a digital modeling company; and Touch Studios, which develops mobile applications.
In May, Hammerman & Gainer, Inc. (HGI) established its corporate headquarters in downtown New Orleans. HGI is a program management and third party administration company with field offices in Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
City provides opportunities for small businesses
In 2012, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development also announced the Small Business Assistance Fund in partnership with NewCorp, Inc., a $2 million financing program designed to support the growth of new and existing businesses.
The City’s Office of Supplier Diversity continued its work to increase the number of certified disadvantaged business enterprises, certifying 90 new firms in 2012, and began tracking and enforcing compliance with City's goal for DBE participation.
Collectively, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the New Orleans Business Alliance and the Office of Supplier Diversity hosted 24 information sessions and seminars, conducted over 100 business retention visits, and participated in 37 partner agency events attended by over 3000 entrepreneurs.
In August, the City announced that the historic Circle Food Store in the 7th Ward would receive $1 million in funding through the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative. Construction on the iconic neighborhood store, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, is expected to begin this month.
Also in 2012, the City congratulated over 100 local, small, minority and women-owned businesses who graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.
Jobs for New Orleanians
The City’s Office of Workforce Development, through its JOB1 Business and Career Solutions Center, assisted over 1700 new job seekers with employment and training services in 2012. The City’s job creation efforts included a focus on our City’s youth, providing jobs and career exploration opportunities for over 2,300 youth ages 14-21 through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.
In December, Mayor Landrieu announced a partnership between Delgado Community College, JOB1 and Sewerage &Water Board (S&WB) to create a workforce training program designed to increase the pool of certified water and wastewater treatment personnel to support the nearly 27,000 construction and 186 permanent S&WB jobs over the next 10 years.
Airport renovations and expansions
2012 brought paradigm shift at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with the investment of over $300 million in infrastructure improvements. To incentivize the airlines to increase the level of flight service New Orleans enjoys, the Airport improved business environment for airlines by cutting their cost through management controls. The Airport increased the level of air service the community has access to and improved the level of customer service its passengers enjoy. The food & beverage and news & gift concession contracts were renegotiated resulting in more than $10 million in improvements to shops and restaurants, with new brands, and lower prices.
City launches 5-year strategic plan
The New Orleans Business Alliance, in partnership with the City of New Orleans and the Economic Development Administration, is leading in the development of a 5-year strategic plan targeting five key industries in New Orleans. This plan is being developed by a Strategic Advisory Council whose members are senior executives and civic leaders in New Orleans representing a wide range of professional experience and perspectives. Launched in 2012, the Strategic Plan is under development and will be released in 2013. The strategic plan will be the first comprehensive economic development strategy for the City of New Orleans and will feature key recommendations for future economic development activities.