Week in Review, Feb. 28-March 3: PortSL, Propel Park, Urban South

2023 01 19 Portsl Business Development Center Img 1314a
“It’s a new era at the Port of South Louisiana,” PortSL CEO Paul Matthews told the crowd at a March 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “As the nation’s leading grain exporter and the second largest port in the Western Hemisphere, PortSL is home to some of the nation’s most recognizable companies that employ more than 86,000 Louisiana workers.” (Photo courtesy of PortSL)

NEW ORLEANS — Port of South Louisiana officials and supporters were all smiles at a March 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a stylish new 30,000-square-foot headquarters overlooking the Mississippi river and the dozens of commercial vessels that sail by each day. The three-story structure, which cost nearly $12 million to build, features two stories of offices and meeting rooms atop a ground-floor garage all directly across Jefferson Highway from the levee in the heart of Port SL’s three-parish footprint.

The majority of the building (nearly $10 million) was paid for by the state of Louisiana. The port itself closed the gap. Meyer Engineers, Ltd., based in Mandeville, was the project’s architect and engineer. The general contractor was Guy Hopkins Construction out of Baton Rouge. Work began in 2020 and, since the port’s former office in LaPlace was damaged during Ida, employees have been working from various locations in and around Reserve while the new headquarters was under construction.

The building sits on the site of the former plantation. A historic home on the property, which is adjacent to the new headquarters, served as PortSL’s temporary digs for a time.

Here are more of the week’s top business stories:

Hub International Limited, a global insurance brokerage and financial services firm that places more than $1 billion worth of premiums in Louisiana, announced that it has acquired the assets of Dwight W. Andrus Insurance Inc., Dwight Andrus & Richard Insurance Inc. and DAI Shreve LLC. Dwight Andrus Insurance is a Lafayette, Louisiana-based insurance agency that manages more than $300 million in premiums throughout the state. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. For more than 75 years, Dwight W. Andrus Insurance has provided commercial insurance, surety and bonding, captive and alternative risk insurance, personal insurance, and employee benefits. The company has six additional locations in Louisiana.

Blue Runner Foods has announced that Katie Bautsch will be its next president. She will be the first woman to lead the 105-year-old Louisiana canning company. Bautsch, who has served as Blue Runner’s vice president of operations since 2015, succeeds Richard Thomas, who steered the enterprise for more than 30 years after buying it in 1993. “Leading one of Louisiana’s most storied food manufacturing companies is an honor. I’m excited to take Blue Runner to new heights with exciting new product lines and expanding our footprints throughout the United States,” said Bautsch in a press release.

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.”

Urban South Brewery has announced the launch of a collaboration with rapper Juvenile (Terius Gray) to create a new beverage: Juvie Juice, a hard version of a half lemonade, half iced tea. “Juvie Juice is inspired by Juvenile’s favorite drink, an Arnold Palmer,” said Jacob Landry, founder and president of Urban South Brewery. “This is also the brewery’s first time releasing a hard iced tea, and we are excited about how the formula turned out!” “Juvie Juice came out so good that everyone is gonna want it in their life!” said Juvenile. “Urban South did their thing and it’s extra special for me because the brewery is a few blocks from where I grew up on Market Street. It’s gonna be a hot summer so get yourself a cold Juvie Juice — and drink responsibly, because too many Juvie Juices will have you moving in slow motion!”

Bernhard LLC, Johnson Controls Inc. and the University of New Orleans have announced a 25-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) partnership. The three are working together under the name Louisiana Energy Partners. According to a school spokesperson, the shared goal is to “renew UNO’s campus energy infrastructure, reduce [carbon] emissions, and provide additional capital to advance UNO’s core academic and research mission.” UNO expects to generate $2.1 million of annual utility cost savings while addressing nearly $9 million of deferred maintenance during the lifetime of the partnership. “We are thrilled to partner with LAEP to bolster our energy infrastructure and provide the most sustainable campus for future generations of Privateers,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “The upgrades our campus will receive are near-term solutions that embrace our goals of being more sustainable and proactive in combating climate change and simultaneously create a more comfortable and reliable environment for students and employees.”

Categories: A Week In Review, Today’s Business News