Week in Review, Jan. 9-13: Avondale, Niagara Bottling, Kumho Tires
NEW ORLEANS — Some in the maritime and transportation industry were surprised by the Jan. 12 announcement that the Port of South Louisiana has entered into an agreement to purchase the Avondale Global Gateway from Norfolk, Va.-based T. Parker Host. The reported price tag is $445 million.
If eyebrows were raised, it’s because the multimodal commerce center is in the jurisdiction of the Port of New Orleans and is linked to Port NOLA through a non-binding cooperative endeavor agreement signed in 2018.
T. Parker Host, which purchased the site of the former Avondale Shipyard in 2018, has spent hundreds of millions to convert the space into a center of multimodal commerce that combines river, road and rail connections with storage and laydown space.
“The state’s largest port is ready to own the state’s greatest industrial icon,” said Paul Matthews, Port of South Louisiana CEO, in a press release. ”This acquisition establishes Avondale Global Gateway as a permanent economic development arm of the State of Louisiana. The port is laser-focused on expanding our operations and bringing prosperity to the southeast Louisiana region. I thank the entire T. Parker Host team for recognizing that our port is the best partner to continue attracting investment.”
Here are more of the week’s top business stories:
Harrah’s New Orleans will welcome a new celebrity chef-driven food hall in February as part of its $325 million renovation and transformation to Caesars New Orleans. Known for restaurants around the world and many television shows, Bobby Flay will open his sixth location of Bobby’s Burgers inside the new hall. The menu will focus on original recipes and classic flavors along with “spoon-bending” milkshakes. Bringing his New Jersey vibe far south to New Orleans, Buddy Valastro will offer sweet creations and New York-Style pizza at PizzaCake. Valastro, who gained notoriety on the TLC series “Cake Boss,” said the new restaurant is the “culmination of my love of all things sliced.”
Niagara Bottling, a major national beverage manufacturer, has announced it plans to invest up to $160 million to build a production facility near Hammond. The company said it will create 70 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 100 new indirect jobs, for a total of 170 new jobs in theregion. The company said its new facility will contain advanced equipment and technology that will increase production efficiency to allow it to meet growing demand. Louisiana was chosen over competing states and the Tangipahoa Parish facility will be Niagara’s first location in the state.“Niagara’s new production facility will help grow Louisiana’s food and beverage industry while continuing to diversify and strengthen our thriving manufacturing sector,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press release. “Manufacturing jobs have a powerful ripple effect on our economy, so the 170 new job opportunities this project creates will benefit not only Tangipahoa Parish but the entire Southeast Region.”
Eleven days into a new year that has seen more than a dozen slayings — including two triple killings and one double homicide — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Wednesday the formation of a 14-member task force to address violent crime. It’s the latest attempt to address a seemingly unyielding stream of mayhem that took hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, one which saw 280 homicide deaths in 2022. That translated to 70 killings per 100,000 residents, the nonpartisan watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission said in a year-end report. It was the highest number of homicides the city had seen since 1996. The violence comes as the city struggles to replenish manpower in a police department that, with an estimated 950 officers, is hundreds below what local officials believe is an ideal level.
The Board of directors for Kumho Tires Inc., a global manufacturer of 17-inch passenger and light truck tires, approved an agreement with Melis Group LLC to establish a 350,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center in St. Mary Parish. Through a partnership with the Port of New Orleans, a major importer of natural rubber in the United States, the distribution and warehouse facility in Franklin will use the Port’s existing container services. “We are thrilled Kumho Tire chose Louisiana for a new tire distribution facility,” said Brandy Christian, president and CEO Port of New Orleans, in a press release. “This is a testament to the work Port NOLA and our economic development partners have done to attract new imports and grow container business statewide. Kumho’s investment will also strengthen Louisiana’s position in the rubber and tire market as Port NOLA continues to be the number one importer of natural rubber in the United States.”
A new Chick-fil-A restaurant will begin service on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 4130 General De Gaulle Drive in Algiers. It will be open for dine-in, drive-thru and carry-out from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sarah Triplett is the location’s independent franchised owner/operator. Chick-fil-A Algiers is the third Chick-fil-A restaurant to open in New Orleans over the past three months. The other two locations are on Poydras Street and Carrollton Avenue. Combined, the three restaurants are responsible for more than 240 full-and part-time jobs.