The 2013 Legislative Session is over and three new ACTS have passed that will assist in the development of the BioDistrict or in the creation of the ecosystem supporting the bioscience industry:
Act 67 of 2013 grants the BioDistrict additional authority to act within the boundaries of the New Orleans Central Business District. This new authority provides us with the opportunity to finance, develop and assist companies and products in the emerging bioscience, Health IT industries. It also provides us with the authority to finance the construction of additional housing, retail, office, green spaces and related specialized facilities that create the sustainably built environment that nurtures the Innovation Economy in New Orleans.
Act 227 of 2013 gives the Commissioner of Administration the authority to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the BioDistrict New Orleans to provide for the development of a new Orleans Parish Civil District Court Complex.
Act 320 of 2013 – establishes the Medifund, which is a special fund for advancement of seven biosciences, biomedical and medical centers of excellence statewide.
BioDistrict President & CEO called this session, “the District’s most critical session, as we move from planning into execution. Aligned public policy that provides new a source of capital is a pivotal element of our holistic approach to sustained economic development.” The other elements are: workforce development, specialized facilities, education, solid research and innovation.
South Market District will combine a mix of luxury apartments with retail, restaurants and entertainment venues in downtown New Orleans. The full development will at completion encompass a four-block area that runs along both sides of Girod Street, from Loyola Avenue to Baronne Street. The site is located adjacent to the BioDistrict, the Union Passenger Terminal and the recently completed Loyola Avenue streetcar line. Located across Loyola from the Mercedes Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena (aka Sports Entertainment District). Featuring modern architecture that compliments its historic surroundings of the Lafayette Square neighborhood, while maximizing ‘green’ and sustainable design, the South Market District will ultimately include over 600 new luxury apartments and 170,000 square feet of retail space. No construction timeline has been announced for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th phases.
BioDistrict President & CEO James P. McNamara thanked Domain for their commitment to New Orleans. “The South Market District development is a prime example of the private sector response to the market demand created by the unprecedented $2.45 Billion public investment made in new hospitals, research, business incubators and public transit. We project over 34,000 new jobs will be created and this project is one of the first to take advantage of the investment opportunity.”
The Paramount will occupy the full city blocks bounded by Girod Street, S. Rampart Street, Lafayette Street and O’Keefe Street. Designed by Humphreys & Partners Architects and Studio 9 Architects, the five-story building will achieve Silver LEED for Homes certification and features a design based upon a modern interpretation of the architectural influences of the Warehouse District. The ground floor will feature retail storefronts along Girod, O’Keefe and a portion of Lafayette and S. Rampart. Retail spaces will feature 19 foot ceilings throughout. The apartments will feature a variety of unique one- and two-bedroom floor plans and will include innovative “live/work” loft units along Lafayette and S. Rampart. “South Market will create the type of mixed-use district, with high-quality housing proximate to employment, public transportation, amenities and services, that is needed to support the growth and diversification of New Orleans’ economy. The retail, apartments and overall planning of the District is unlike anything that exists Downtown today” said Matt Schwartz, Principal of The Domain Companies.
The Paramount will be positioned as the premier residential rental property in New Orleans, designed to appeal to the workforce participating in the region’s rapidly expanding bioscience and healthcare sectors of the Innovation Economy. The building includes hospitality style amenities including a large interior courtyard that will feature a “resort-style” pool, extensive seating areas and furnishings, attractive landscaping, outdoor kitchen and a unique covered indoor/outdoor lounge. The first floor also includes a club area including a grand lobby, concierge desk and reception area, clubroom with cyber café, media area and entertaining area. Also included is a large fully-equipped fitness center that will feature the latest in equipment and technology. Floor plans have been carefully designed and feature 9 foot ceiling heights. Refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer and dryers will be Energy Star rated. Kitchens will have a stainless steel appliances, custom painted flat panel cabinets, quartz countertops and sleek modern fixtures. Bathrooms will feature ceramic tile floors, oversized subway tile showers, stained hardwood vanities, Corian countertops and clean modern fixtures.
New Orleans CityBusiness
BY: Robin Shannon, Staff Writer
Business owners along Tulane Avenue are optimistic that the 2-mile stretch between Carrollton and Loyola avenues is primed for redevelopment, with two billion-dollar hospital complexes on the rise and a $10 million streetscape project set to begin early next year.
Some Mid-City business owners are pushing for stronger code enforcement targeting blighted motels along Tulane Avenue as construction of the University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Hospital, left, is expected to enhance development. (Photo by Frank Aymami)
But commercial real estate professionals say progress will be slow in coming.
Robert Hand, owner of Louisiana Commercial Realty, a brokerage firm that has been involved in several major real estate deals along Tulane Avenue, said limited inventory and an increase in demand have sent property values soaring along the corridor. Prices per square foot have jumped from $8 to $10 in 2007 to more than $40 in some areas today.
“There are property values on Tulane Avenue that are higher than parts of Veterans Boulevard in Metairie,” Hand said. “There was a time where no one wanted to buy anything out there. Now we have speculators coming in looking for places for new retail and multifamily complexes, which will be the biggest need.”
While demand for property is still high, Hand said higher prices will likely whittle out weak developments.
“It is going to take someone with a vision and a healthy bank account,” he said. “But that’s not to say people aren’t looking.”
Richard Juge, president of Re/Max Commercial Brokers, said the future of Tulane Avenue looks very good in the way of development opportunities. The problem is that there are no big parcels of open land available at this point.
“You are talking about a lot of urban infill that is going to take patience to develop,” Juge said. “Anyone who comes in looking to purchase some of the available property will have to consider the surrounding community and keep in mind the design and architecture of what is there.”
He noted that recent development along Tulane Avenue has occurred in phases. The first began in 2007 when multifamily developments such as The Preserve and Crescent Club Apartments, both former vacant commercial properties, came online. The opening of a new retail strip in the 3100 block followed a few years later.
“I think we are starting to move into that next phase of development, but it will be a challenge to assemble properties to build on,” Juge said. “Deals are being made, but you have some people who are holding out for above market prices. Even properties that look underutilized will be sold at a premium. It’s just going to take some time.”
Members of the Greater Mid-City Business Association have been working with the New Orleans City Council for stronger code enforcement to combat persistent crime and blight problems along Tulane Avenue. The group believes part of the problem is the thoroughfare’s reputation.
“We can all see the progress from investments by honest people, but many businesses cannot stay open after dark because of the crime,” said Justin Pitard, who opened Avery’s Po-Boys in the 2500 block of Tulane about a year ago because of the work at the new University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Hospital.
“There is great potential and development should be a no-brainer,” he said.
Stephen and Pauline Patterson share Pitard’s level of optimism. The couple runs Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, three blocks from Tulane Avenue on Banks Street, and plan to open Treo, an upscale bar, art gallery and theater, in the 3800 block of Tulane Avenue.
“We have some regulars at (Finn McCool’s) who think we are completely mental to open a business on Tulane,” Pauline Patterson said. “But people called us crazy 10 years ago when we opened Finn McCool’s where we did. Now that neighborhood is in a much better place, and we think that can happen on Tulane.”
The Pattersons said they believe the city’s plan to transform Tulane Avenue with an expanded neutral ground and one less traffic lane in each direction gives the highway the potential to become a larger version of Freret Street, where restaurants and retail shops have changed the face of the once struggling Uptown street.
“We are putting a lot of emphasis on the frontage of our property,” Patterson said. “We want to be visible to the traffic. If you can do this block by block, the area has a chance. But you have to embrace the neighborhood.”
Reporter Robin Shannon can be reached at email@example.com.
The New Orleans academic, business, and architectural\planning communities had a rare sit down to discuss the state of the ever changing biopharmaceutical industry with James C. Greenwood; a global leader of biotech. What they learned will have an impact on the long term strategies used for developing the District as an example of the “sustainable environment;” and a hub of innovation and commercialization based on university research.
Global Biotech Leader James C. Greenwood discusses the state of the biopharmaceutical industry and how New Orleans can compete as a hub of innovation and commercialization
Mr. Greenwood said that New Orleans was “late to the game but had the assets to compete” and is being acknowledged as a community on the rise. More and more people are discovering the political and business advantages of locating in New Orleans. In many respects, the said conversation and activities we are engage in at the local, regional, and state levels are the same that other communities have had 10, 15, and 20 years ago. He said that there are infinite number of diseases that need cures to be discovered, new demands for energy and fuels, and a huge population that needs to be fed. Until the keys are found that solve these issues, there is a need for more research at both industry and university levels.
Mr. Greenwood was followed by Mr. Pat Forbes, the executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery. He spoke about the agency’s investment in recovery and economic development. He noted that the state’s plan stems from those of the local communities and the vision that has been shaped in the BioDistrict is one that will lead to new jobs in the innovation economy, which will then in turn add to the long term growth of the region.
Panel #2 lead by Michael Hecht, GNO, Inc. includes planners and economic development professionals discussing Storm Water Management and Building Scale, Design and Zoning.
The BioDistrict has working Committees on Storm Water Management, Transportation, Building Scale and Zoning, Energy, Social Impact and Communications. Each committee is populated with District Commissioners, the six local A&E firms (listed below), city planners and redevelopment officials, Entergy, the RTA, Ride NOLA, Level 3 and others looking for solutions that developers can incorporate in their projects.
Participating firms chosen from an open bid process were:
- Billes Partners
- Mathes + Concordia
- Montgomery Roth
- Verges Romes
- Waggonner and Ball
Here’s a Link to the combined presentations
New Orleans Works (NOW), announces the launch of a partnership that will result in jobs for low-skilled workers in the healthcare field through a collaborative effort among Ochsner Health System, Delgado Community College, JOB1 and Providence Community Housing. Mitch Landrieu stated that ”one of our top priorities is linking New Orleanians to new, higher-paying jobs, and NOW is a great example of a public-private partnership that will help create a pathway to prosperity for our residents by connecting them to available healthcare jobs.” To help close this gap and link New Orleanians to their path of prosperity, NOW is introducing a program that will be introduced this summer and will train 50 low-income jobseekers for the position of medical assistant.
Upon successful completion of the program, all participants will be guaranteed a position as a medical assistant, and above all will acquire technical and soft-skills needed for today’s jobs. At hospitals, medical assistants provide patient care alongside licensed healthcare providers, perform clerical work, transfer and discharge medical orders, and respond to patient and visitor inquiries. This $200,000 investment made by NOW, includes the costs of tuition, transit, child care, and coaching for the 50 individuals participating in the program.
NOW Press Release
Rebar Interactive, a proud New Orleans based company, was recently named as a finalist in the Shire ADHD Transitions Challenge. In this challenge, Shire and Health 2.0 invited the submission of technology solutions to aid ADHD patients during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. As a reward for its innovative solution, Shire awarded Rebar Interactive with a prize of $5,000. The company will now compete with four other finalists for additional prizes, including a first place prize of $100,000.
Rebar Interactive’s ADHD mobile app is the product of extensive research regarding the unique challenges of young adults with ADHD, which included input from ADHD coaches, academic researchers, clinicians, and patients themselves. It incorporates productivity tools, personalized feedback, coaching, behavioral modification, and social support elements that are uniquely tailored to the needs of adolescents with ADHD.
Ms. Rahlyn Gossen, a new brand of Bioscience leaders
“With over 4% of the adult population suffering from ADHD, this app has the potential to create significant positive societal impact,” noted Rebar Interactive founder Rahlyn Gossen. “And with a movement towards an outcomes-based healthcare system, digital health solutions like this one will find increasing market demand among pharma and other healthcare players. As a company focused on digital patient engagement in clinical trials, I believe Rebar Interactive’s competencies are well suited to this emerging environment. This belief seems to be confirmed by Shire’s selection of Rebar Interactive as a finalist in its ADHD Transitions Challenge.”
Rebar Interactive is a specialty digital marketing company focused on clinical trials. It uses technology to help research sites, clinical research organizations (CRO’s), and pharmaceutical sponsors engage and recruit clinical trial participants nationally and internationally. Rahlyn Gossen, the founder of Rebar Interactive, was previously named by the BioDistrict New Orleans as an Emerging Leader.
BioDistrict President and CEO James P. McNamara called Ms Gossen “a true example of the new entrepreneurial high tech spirit New Orleanians have demonstrated in recent years.” Ms. Gossen has identified a market niche and immediately started to interact with companies interested in her services. We are witnessing a major change in New Orleans as more people become engaged in the Innovation Economy.
Shire’s ADHD Transitions Challenge winners will be announced at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference, occurring September 29 to October 2 in Santa Clara, California.
As the CEO of the BioDistrict, I believe we need to constantly evaluate our performance as an economic development organization (EDO) to determine our effectiveness. The effort to create economic opportunity and wealth for our fellow citizens is a very competitive and complex process. It is estimated that in the United States alone, there are over 18,000 municipalities, 3,141 counties or parishes, 90,000 taxing jurisdictions, all of which are competing for new business opportunities and jobs for its citizens. They range from the federal, state, city, district and in some cases neighborhood development organizations. Of that, there are about 7,000 EDO’s, or some form of public private partnerships that are charged with the responsibility of recruiting new or retaining current businesses. There are also organizations that are focused on working with the start-up or entrepreneurial space to incubate new home grown technology based companies; along with those that are focused on the ecosystem including the built environment to ensure success.
So what are the common ingredients of a successful EDO?
- They have a very clear geographic area of influence
- They have a very clear mission with goals and objectives that focuse on; keeping and attracting people downtown (businesses, residents, retail, and visitors), developing public realm projects, commercialization of university technologies, entrepreneurial and small business advocacy, providing and promoting special events with international keynote speakers, district wide operations and maintenance
- They have a plan which they are very focused on implementing
- They have strong backing from the political, business, philanthropic and civic communities
- They have a direct source of income
Simply put they provide the leadership, the purpose, the plan and the action steps, along with a sense of urgency resulting in measurable success.
We have been through this before and have seen one group after another fail to catch on. Very few if any ever go away. They employ a person or two and that’s the upper limit of their contribution towards economic development. In addition to the common ingredients, a sector based economic development organization must have industry alignment. In our case, we have achieved alignment with academia and industry through research collaborations and targeted partnerships. We are proactively: i) in pursuit of international business development opportunities; ii) adapting to pharmaceutical marketplace changes in the global economy; iii) involved in full scale engagement with the New Orleans hospitality industry to pursuit and engage the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and, iv) deploying an aggressive viral campaign through social media outlets.
One early decision was to shy away from embracing Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” theory for the more pragmatic and real world solution of embracing changes at all levels.This holistic approach of creating economic prosperity in post Katrina New Orleans needed to include not just recruitment, retention and entrepreneurial development; but it also needs to include the basic programmatic areas of workforce training and development, small business advocacy, and educational alignment focusing on the new innovation economy.
The “New” model for sustained community wide economic development