Expansion at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility Campus

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Rendering courtesy of Greater New Orleans Inc.

NEW ORLEANS  — On Jan. 28, Industrial Realty Group joined with economic development partners from the state, region and city to break ground on Propel Park, located within NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility. Representatives from the project’s builder, Impetus, were also present. Construction of the new industrial and office development will now begin on the 50-acre campus.

“Doubling down on the importance and success of NASA Michoud, Propel Park will welcome new companies and drive new growth for New Orleans East,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., a regional economic development nonprofit organization.  “Michoud is a world-class facility, designing and assembling the biggest rockets and the longest windmill blades in human history, so it makes great sense to create a new facility to allow others to be near and leverage this capacity.”

The project will generate over 1 million square feet of modernized industrial space.

“There has been incredible momentum on site,” said Stuart Lichter, president of IRG. “Our team has already begun the preliminary site preparations to ready the ground for construction. We anticipate more tenants will join the project in 2023.”

Stakeholders hope the new regional asset will bolster business attraction efforts, providing a new location for companies in need of facilities for light assembly, manufacturing, distribution and office operations.

“IRG and Textron’s investment in New Orleans East at Propel Park will indeed propel the campus forward, providing economic opportunity for a new generation and building on the foundation that the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility has stewarded for over a half century,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This project undoubtedly will create more jobs and spur additional investment in our community, and we look forward to continuing to support this development through all its phases.”

“Propel Park is creating a new era of growth for high-demand advanced manufacturing jobs in New Orleans,” says Lynnette White-Colin, senior VP small business growth at New Orleans Business Alliance.  “As the first major new industrial construction project in the city in decades, Propel Park proves New Orleans East is poised to strengthen its position as a center of opportunity for residents and businesses. NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility is a long-time driver of high-quality jobs, and today’s investment demonstrates the next step in the city’s increased economic prosperity.  NOLABA looks forward to working with our future Propel Park tenants to ensure New Orleans’ skilled workforce is tapped into new job opportunities at this site.”

The project’s first tenant, Textron Systems, has signed a 10-year lease to relocate from its existing space within an MAF building into a new, 97,025-square-foot distribution hub. It will occupy a portion of the first phase of the development, a 260,000-square-foot warehouse building.

“We are proud to expand our footprint in New Orleans East, as this project will provide a safe, secure, and efficient location to conduct our material logistics operations.  We have enjoyed a long partnership with the Michoud campus, and this project will serve as an excellent complement to our shipyard operations,” said Ryan Schaffernocker, vice president sea systems at Textron Systems.

With 50 acres of developable land, Propel Park is expected to include up to 1.3 million square feet of buildings developed in phases. Potential uses include light assembly, manufacturing, distribution and office space. The site benefits from a nearly 20-foot levee, onsite pumps and access to a deep-water port.

“The development of Propel Park demonstrates the importance of community partnerships in attracting businesses and creating jobs in New Orleans, especially in New Orleans East. We all must have a seat at the table to help New Orleans continue to grow and thrive,” said Taurus Wright, director of economic development for Entergy New Orleans. “This economic development project will offer vast opportunities for additional industrial growth with its proximity to the airport, highways, ports and the rich culture of New Orleans.”

IRG was represented by Bill Boyer of CBRE and Leon Audibert of Property One for this transaction. 

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