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Corporate Expansion Brings Job Growth to Metro NOLA

23 Jun 2015, 6:52 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Netchex

Netchex to add 240 new jobs in Mandeville

Payroll-services company Netchex will be growing Greater New Orleans’ job base, the company announced, adding 240 new direct jobs at its Mandeville, La., corporate headquarters in St. Tammany Parish and investing $5.3 million.

Founded in 2013 in Mandeville, Netchex has grown into a leading provider of payroll, human resources, time and attendance, and benefit services in the southern U.S., with additional offices in Dallas, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss. The company currently has a total workforce of 120, of which 86 are based in Mandeville. Netchex now plans to increase its Mandeville workforce by 240 new direct jobs, with an average salary of $43,800 plus benefits. To accommodate this growth, the company will lease 30,000 square feet of new office space. Netchex plans to relocate to the new space in early 2016, and  occupy it for two years while its new corporate headquarters building is completed.

Netchex will make use of the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) FastStart workforce development program, Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, and the state’s Quality Jobs Program. LED estimates that Netchex’s investment will generate an additional 120 new indirect jobs, pushing the company’s total impact to 360 new jobs.

Image credit: Netchex via Facebook



Ashford Trust Launches Key Money in NOLA

17 Jun 2015, 2:53 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Le Pavillon Hotel

Le Pavillon Hotel

Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc. has debuted its recently announced “key money” concept with the acquisition of a New Orleans luxury hotel. Ashford Trust purchased the 226-key Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans’ CBD for $62.5 million, $4 million of which will be provided by Ashford Inc. in key money consideration. Ashford will provide further acquisition financing through a $43.75 million non-recourse, interest-only mortgage loan. The loan provides for a floating interest rate of LIBOR+5.10 percent and has a two-year term with three one-year extensions. Ashford Trust expects to elevate the property’s trailing 12-month cap rate of 5.8 percent to a forward 12-month cap rate of 7.8 percent.

Ashford Trust picked up the luxury hotel from American Financial Group Inc. Le Pavillion was owned and managed through a subsidiary of Great American Insurance Co. The seller expects to recognize a non-core after-tax gain of about $25 million on the sale. Remington Lodging has taken over as property manager.

Built in 1907, Le Pavillion is within walking distance of the French Quarter, Mercedes Benz Superdome, the Smoothie King Arena and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Amenities include 7,800 square feet of meeting space, a year-round heated rooftop pool and an onsite Cajun and creole restaurant.

Image credit: Le Pavillon Hotel via Facebook



Lower Ninth Welcomes New Community Center

11 Jun 2015, 2:22 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates inaugartion of Sanchez Center with Lower Ninth residents

New Orleans’ historic Lower Ninth Ward celebrated a major milestone in its recovery with the inauguration of a new community center that will offer services and activities throughout the age spectrum of the district’s residents. It will also increase police protection in the troubled neighborhood, which posts crime rates significantly higher than the national average, according to Point2Homes data.

Sanchez Center incorporates a health clinic, a senior center, a neighborhood commercial kitchen, multi-purpose and crafts classrooms, a computer lab, a reading room, a music room, art and dance studios, a gymnasium, a regulation-size indoor basketball court with retractable bleachers and performance stage, an 82-foot Olympic-size swimming pool and a game room. The energy-efficient facility also features bike racks and a landscaped outdoor activities area.

The $20.5 million Sanchez Center was developed through a public-private partnership, with financing provided through FEMA public assistance and Disaster Community Development Block Grant, Insurance and City Bond funds. The development team included 11 local disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms and Gibbs Construction of New Orleans, with design by Perez, APC of New Orleans.

The 65,000-square-foot facility replaces a 50,000-square-foot community center demolished in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Two more community centers are scheduled to open this summer in the neighborhoods of St. Claude and Bywater.

Image credit: Mayor Mitch Landrieu – City of New Orleans via Facebook



Housing Authority of New Orleans Anniversary Highlights

27 May 2015, 2:22 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

As the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) celebrates its one-year anniversary of returning to local control, we take a look at some of its highlight achievements of the past year.

  • Marais Apartments

    Marais Apartments

Opened in September 2014, Marais Apartments ticked off several goals for the city of New Orleans, bolstering its stock of senior and low-income (senior) housing. The $35 million public-private partnership project also marked the return to use of the former Texaco building, a landmark high-rise of downtown New Orleans that had sat empty and blighted for 15 years. Marais Apartments offers one-bedroom and studio apartments to seniors age 62 and older. Marais Apartments is the first off-site housing project within the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, currently revitalizing the historic Iberville and Tremé neighborhoods.

  • Marrero Commons

    Marrero Commons

Located in Uptown New Orleans, Marrero Commons’ $158 million phase one also celebrated its completion in the second half of 2014, adding 410 units to New Orleans’ housing stock. Featuring one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom townhomes and garden apartments, Marrero Commons Phase I comprises 250 units, of which 143 are public housing.

  • Lafitte Senior Building

January 2015 brought the groundbreaking for the new Lafitte Senior building, a 96,000-square-foot addition to the $148 million, 276-unit Fabourg Lafitte housing development in historic Tremé.

Faubourg Lafitte

The $22 million project will feature public and Section 8 voucher assisted housing. Lafitte Senior will offer 89 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units featuring Energy Star appliances. Expected to be complete in mid-2016, Lafitte Senior is being developed by Lafitte Senior LLC, a partnership between Providence Community Housing and Enterprise Community Partners, and is funded by HANO, HUD and FEMA.

Image credits: HRI Properties and Housing Authority of New Orleans

 



City Issues RFP for Piazza d’Italia Adjacent Sites

19 May 2015, 1:26 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

42 Tchoupitoulas St. and 545 South Peters St

The city of New Orleans and the city’s public benefit corporation, Canal Street Development Corp. (CSDC), have issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of a two-lot site adjacent to Piazza d’Italia, one of New Orleans’ famed urban public plazas.

The city is interested in proposals from experienced real estate developers. Projects must feature plans to integrate the site into the area’s land uses. That includes first-class commercial or mixed uses, such as luxury residential, retail or other professional office uses featuring entertainment components and related amenities. Proposals also need to include a component that will address the area’s parking needs, as both lots for the targeted site are surface parking lots: 542 Tchoupitoulas St. currently operates a 150-car parking lot, while 545 S. Peters St. serves as a 28-car surface parking facility.

The development of the site will go through a multi-phase process similar to the redevelopment of 2 Canal St. (the former World Trade Center). Selected RFPs will go through a second round to determine the preferred developer based on the strength and quality of the proposed project, financial feasibility, disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) track record and project goals. This will be followed by a negotiation with the CSDC in order to maximize the city’s return on investment, followed by a lease and development agreement for the site. The deadline for RFPs is June 30.

A similar route was followed in the redevelopment of 2 Canal St. A final lease and development agreement for the 670,000-square-foot former World Trade Center was signed earlier this month. Developers Carpenter/Woodward have leased the property under a 99-year term and will embark on a $364 million adaptive reuse project that will convert the vacant CBD property to a 350-key Four Seasons Hotel and 76 luxury condos.

Image credit: Google Maps







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