1 Contents Background and IntroductionPage 2 Site Evaluation Approach & MethodologyPage 7 Site Evaluation FindingsPage 12 Detailed Summaries of Tier 1/Recommended SitesPage 18 Conclusions and Next StepsPage 27 Appendix: Candidate Site Data Summary Forms Page Number
3 Background The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) is in the process of implementing The Jefferson EDGE, its five-year strategic plan for economic development. The Jefferson EDGE identifies the development of the Parish’s technology sector as an essential component of future economic growth. The Jefferson EDGE Committee is currently directing an audit of Parish technology resources to assess its capacity to support the retention, expansion, and attraction of technology investment and jobs. While the Technology Audit findings suggest the Parish can generally support technology-sector expansion, JEDCO believes the Parish lacks the higher-end business parks and developable land needed to attract and retain technology companies. Ready-to-go buildings and land are crucial assets when competing for locationally active companies – and not only those in the technology sector.
4 JEDCO’s Vision for the Technology Park JEDCO envisions the new development as a high-quality business / office park that will: Provide an attractive option in the Parish for expanding local and regional companies currently operating within and beyond Jefferson Parish; and, Compete successfully for investment by external prospects considering the New Orleans metro area for their regional, national, or international site searches. Ideally, the new Park will target technology-oriented companies; however, JEDCO’s vision for the Park is broadly inclusive. To achieve this vision, the Park layout and features should be flexible enough to attract and accommodate various types of facilities and industries, including: Centers for technology development and learning (e.g., an incubator or academy); Operations / offices of companies in traditionally less-technical industries that are leveraging technology in innovative ways (e.g., manufacturing, logistics, and service-sector companies); and, Facility types that could range from high-end office to light manufacturing.
5 Deloitte & Touche Fantus – Our Role and Perspective To identify the optimal location(s) for the Technology Park, JEDCO retained Deloitte & Touche’s Fantus Group to comparatively evaluate the Parish’s real estate assets in a two-phase process: Phase 1 – Identify several sites with the most potential to support the efficient development of the Park (i.e., within one year); and, Phase 2 – Identify the optimal site in the context of the Technology Audit’s findings, the anticipated development process, and JEDCO’s objectives for the Technology Park. In this role, we bring deep expertise in the assessment of potential facility locations, and the invaluable perspective of corporate executives responsible for making location decisions. As a practice, we have decades of experience conducting site-selection projects for corporate clients in all industry sectors, including technology. Our team has field-evaluated hundreds of office / technology parks throughout the United States and abroad on behalf of, and with, our corporate clients. We have helped various economic development agencies evaluate, rationalize, and improve their real estate assets to support economic development and growth.
6 What Prospects Look for in a Technology Park Based on our experience, corporate clients typically expect the following attributes in a built-out, higher-end business / office park: Location Close proximity to major roads, airport Access to amenities such as restaurants, hotels, recreation, and day care providers Attractive surrounding land uses and a secure environment Construction High quality buildings Restrictive land-use and operating-standard covenants throughout the park High parking ratios Landscaping Wide building / street setbacks, and tree-lined or landscaped roads Greenspace buffers between the park and surrounding developments Higher-end signage at entrance and buildings Walking paths, water features, or green space to create a “campus setting” Utilities Strong telecommunications infrastructure, and sometimes redundant service Underground utilities throughout the park
8 Baseline Criteria for the Technology Park Sites Based on the project’s stated objectives, JEDCO and Deloitte & Touche identified baseline requirements for candidate sites to be appropriate for the Park: Minimum of 25 acres developable land; Ability to be “developed” in the short-term (beginning within one year); Compatible (higher-end) image and surrounding uses; Favorable access to local road network and population centers / amenities; Appropriate utility and telecommunications infrastructure; and, Moderate overall cost structure for land acquisition and development. For the purpose of this analysis, the “developed” state to be achieved at the chosen site in one year is defined as: Land controlled by JEDCO for development (by purchase, lease, or agreement); Access road and utilities extended to the Park boundary; and, Cleared and graded (i.e., filled) site, with entrance signage in place.
9 Approach and Methodology The first step in the process was to identify parcels of developable land greater than 25 acres within Jefferson Parish. To identify potential sites, JEDCO contacted various stakeholders in the local real estate community, including: Real estate agents, developers, and private land owners; Local companies believed to have excess land; Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport; and, Individual municipalities within the Parish. Deloitte & Touche then developed and issued a Request for Information (RFI) to interested property representatives, soliciting key data on each site related to its access, infrastructure, image, surrounding uses, land-use history, etc. Ultimately, information on 19 sites was received and evaluated.
11 Field Evaluation of Sites After reviewing the RFI responses, Deloitte & Touche and JEDCO met with the property representatives and field-evaluated the sites on January 28 and 29. These evaluations included verification of information provided in the RFI responses, and first-hand assessment of various factors, including: Image of the property and its surroundings; Quality of access routes to major roads; Issues that might preclude development of the site within the required timeframe, including: Significant wetlands; Environmental concerns resulting from past or neighboring operations; Utility extension requirements; Required process to obtain appropriate zoning; Willingness of the land owners to lease the property to JEDCO and / or to partner with JEDCO for the development of the park.
13 Comparative Ranking of Submitted Sites Tier 3 Sites: One or more significant issues suggests these sites are incompatible with the Technology Park’s development. Primary reasons for elimination of a site might include: Incompatible image (generally located in heavy industrial areas); and Required acreage is not available under consolidated ownership. Tier 2 Sites: These sites are not as well suited for Technology Park development as the Tier 1 / Recommended sites, but can serve as alternates should substantial flaws emerge in Tier 1 sites. These sites might exhibit: Potentially restrictive site size, configuration, or other development hurdle; Locational characteristics better suited for a different type of development (e.g. retail, industrial, etc.); and/or, Sub-optimal road access or surrounding image. Tier 1 / Recommended Sites: Sites that offer the greatest potential to meet JEDCO’s requirements for Technology Park development. Based on our field evaluations and review of the RFI responses, the candidate sites were categorized according to their apparent capacity to support the Technology Park development.
14 Summary of Tier 3 Sites SiteAcreageLocation Rationale for Tier 3 Status 2900 Peters Road70 acresEast side of Harvey Canal, HarveyHeavy industrial image, and potential environmental concerns. 4400 Peters Road40 acresEast side of Harvey Canal, HarveyHeavy industrial image, and potential environmental concerns. Harvey Canal Site540 acresDestrehan Ave. and Lapalco Blvd., Harvey Incompatible surrounding image (heavy industrial and residential land uses). Peters Road Site241.5 acresAcross from Boomtown Casino, Harvey Incompatible surrounding image (heavy industry and casino). Significant infrastructure improvements required. S. New Orleans Subdivision + 500 acresManhattan Blvd. near Gretna Blvd., Harvey Required acreage not available under consolidated ownership. Gretna Site26 acresMadison Street near Port of New Orleans, Gretna Restrictive site size and layout. Owner has not demonstrated motivation toward selling / leasing the property. Knight-Celotex Site25+ acres7500 Fourth Street, MarreroHeavy industrial image, and limited acreage available. South and East of Airport Sites (2 sites) Many parcels comprise 38 and 41 acres, respectively South site is between Kenner Avenue and Jefferson Hwy. East site is northwest of Kenner City Hall and south of 23 rd Street. Significant land aggregation required for acreage to support office development. Building height restrictions and airport runway proximity may concern prospects. After field-evaluating and reviewing the RFI responses for these nine sites, they were judged to be incompatible with the Technology Park development. Additional detail on these sites is provided in the Appendix to this report.
15 Summary of Tier 2 Sites SiteAcreageLocation Rationale for Tier 2 Status Manhattan Blvd. near Target Store 44 acresManhattan Blvd. south of Gretna Blvd., Harvey Minimal room for future expansion. Comparatively high asking price ($3.50 psf). Acceptable location and image, but better suited for retail development. Former Belle Promenade Mall 25+ acres in total Lapalco Blvd. and Barataria Blvd., Marrero Potentially restrictive site size and configuration. Acceptable location and image, but is better suited for retail / commercial development. Union Pacific Railroad Site 138 acresLA Highway 18, WestwegoLower land price, but marginal surrounding image (tank farm, intermodal yard). Access along LA-18 is congested. Behrman Highway Site 65 acresBehrman Hwy near LA Hwy 23Large parcel with marginal image. Ownership group’s willingness to sell land is not known. Reported price is $3.50 per square foot. Marrero Golf Course Site 68 acresLapalco Blvd. near US 90Significant wetlands on property. High asking price for land expected ($5.00+ per square foot). Owner contemplating covenants and codes that may be too restrictive for multi-use Technology Park. North End of Airport Site 21 acresNorth of Louis Armstrong Int’l Airport, at Williams Blvd. exit off I- 10 Good I-10 access / visibility on Eastbank, and close to airport. However, significant land aggregation, expropriation, and street closures required. Development time requirements and overall available acreage are likely to compromise stated objectives for the Technology Park development Additional detail on these sites is provided in the Appendix to this report. Six of the 19 sites appear to be marginally suited to support the development of the Technology Park.
16 Summary of Tier 1 / Recommended Sites SiteAcreageLocation Rationale for Tier 1 Status Marrero Site “A”103 acresLA Hwy 18, Bridge CityLarge, somewhat rectangular site. Favorable access to the Huey P. Long Bridge and Eastbank population centers. Acceptable (but not ideal) surrounding image, and no wetlands on site. Marrero Site “B”67 acresLA Hwy 18, Bridge CityLarge, elliptically shaped site. Favorable access to the Huey P. Long Bridge and Eastbank population centers. Acceptable (but not ideal) surrounding image, and no wetlands on site. Churchill Farms3,700+ acresNicole Blvd., near its intersection with Lapalco Blvd. Large tract of land offers flexibility to control surrounding image and develop site for multiple uses. Favorable road access (to northeast portion of site only). Our evaluation suggests three Westbank sites offer the greatest potential for the successful development, and long-term expansion, of a Technology Park for Jefferson Parish. Additional detail on these sites is provided in the Appendix to this report.
18 Detailed Summaries of Tier 1 / Recommended Sites
19 Marrero Land Sites “A” and “B” – Site Plan Site “A” Site “B”
20 Marrero Land Sites “A” and “B” – Site Summary The Marrero Sites “A” and “B” offer favorable access to US 90 and the Huey P. Long Bridge. The area’s surrounding image is acceptable (though slightly more industrial than preferred), and the land price is somewhat lower than for land in more developed / commercialized areas. Greenspace buffers and selection of a parcel toward the southeast corner of Parcel “A” may alleviate image concerns. Wetlands assessments of the site suggest this will not be an issue. This could represent meaningful reductions in site improvement costs. Parcel “A”, north of LA Highway 18, appears to be the preferred site of the two due to its rectangular, larger and more flexible site configuration versus Parcel “B”; and, The following utility extensions would be required to serve Site “A”: Water (approximately 800’ to edge of parcel “A” from US 90); Gas (approximately 1600’ to edge of parcel “A” from US 90); and, Telecommunications (to be determined).
21 Marrero Land Sites “A” and “B” – Site Details Site Size / ConfigurationSite “A”: Approximately 102 acres in a roughly rectangular configuration Site “B”: Approximately 67 acres in a long, somewhat narrow configuration LocationLA Hwy 18 and LA Hwy 541, Bridge City OwnerMarrero Land & Improvement Association, Ltd. Asking PriceEstimated at $1.25 - $1.50 psf (or $55,000 - $65,00 per acre) sale price for a 25-acre parcel; Marrero would prefer to lease the property to JEDCO at an estimated price of $0.18 to $0.25 psf (or $7,800 - $10,900 per acre) Highway AccessLA Hwy 18 to US 90 (less than ¼ mile) Current UsePasture for cattle grazing; no permanent facilities on site other than barns, stables, and sheds Surrounding UsesAvondale Shipyards (west); US 90 (east, south); Rail yard (south); Church, school (north) Former UsePasture ZoningSite “A”: R-1A (Residential) / M-1 (Industrial); Site “B”: M-1 (Industrial) UtilitiesWater: 12” main along US 90 (approximately 800’ from site); Sewer: 20” force main runs along/through the sites; Gas: Line runs along east side of US 90 (approximately 1600’ from site); Electric: Adjacent to site along LA 18 and LA 541. Environmental / WetlandsNo environmental site assessments have been completed. Property was designated as a non-wetland area by USACE in 1999. AdvantagesGood access to US 90; Property has been designated a non-wetlands area; comparatively low land costs vs. most sites in the Parish DisadvantagesMarginal (though acceptable) surrounding image due to Avondale and rail bridge/yard; Extensions required for all utilities except electric
22 Marrero Land Sites “A” and “B” – Site Photos Facing south toward Site “B” from LA 541Facing east toward Site “A” from LA 541Facing west toward Avondale from Site “A”Facing northeast toward Site “A” from LA 541
23 Churchill Farms – Site Plan US 90 Lapalco Blvd. Nicole Blvd.
24 Churchill Farms – Site Summary This site’s location, size and surroundings present the opportunity to develop and maintain a distinct image in and around the Technology Park. The northeast portion of the site appears to be the preferred area to initiate the Park development based on: Better access to area roads, population centers, and recreation amenities; The extent of utility extensions needed in this area is expected to be less. The northeast part of the site has better road access At this time, the primary development concerns and unknowns for the site include the level / location of utility service to the area, as well as the location and extent of wetlands on the site. If not already available, a broad wetlands assessment of the site may be an important step toward identifying the areas of the site best suited for development, and possible mitigation / site improvement measures needed. The need for other condition assessments (e.g., geotechnical) also needs to be evaluated.
25 Churchill Farms - Site Details Site Size / ConfigurationProperty includes approximately 3,700 acres. LocationPrimary access to the property is Nicole Blvd. via Lapalco Blvd. The property extends southwest to the edge of the hurricane protection levee system. OwnerJoseph Marcello Asking PriceThe owner has not committed to an asking price, but is reportedly willing to lease portions of the property to JEDCO, and participate in the development process. Highway AccessLapalco Blvd. to US 90 (approximately 1 mile). Current UseThe majority of the property is currently vacant and undeveloped. Some portions are being used for agriculture or pastureland. Surrounding UsesTPC golf course currently under construction along Nicole Blvd. Most land adjacent to the site is vacant and undeveloped. The Avondale subdivision is close to a remote portion of the site. Former UseAgriculture, pasture, or undeveloped. ZoningThe majority of the property is currently zoned U-1 (Unrestricted District). UtilitiesNecessary information has not yet been received. The preferred portion of the site – the northeastern corner – is reportedly served by utilities along Lapalco and/or Nicole Blvd. Environmental / WetlandsNo environmental site assessments or wetlands delineations have been reported. AdvantagesLarge, flexible tract that offers the ability to establish desired image and uses. Good access to US 90 via Lapalco Blvd. Owner would like to participate development process. Proximity to TPC Golf course and recreation area. DisadvantagesThe amount of wetlands is not known, but could appreciably affect parcel selection and development process. Extent of needed utility extensions is unknown. Asking price for ‘as is’ land has not been made available.
26 Churchill Farms – Site Photos Intersection of Lapalco Blvd. and Nicole Blvd. Facing south along Nicole Blvd. toward property Facing west along Lapalco Blvd. from Nicole Blvd. TPC Golf Course property along Nicole Blvd.
28 Overall Conclusions The sites we believe are best suited for the long-term development of the Technology Park are on the Westbank. Based on our perspective as ‘outsiders’, and, more importantly, as site-selection consultants that regularly direct companies’ location strategies and decision-making, we believe the Westbank is better suited for the Park. Larger sites can best support long-term development of a mixed-use park, and accommodate a wider spectrum of prospects and facilities. The absence of Westbank development south of the Huey P. Long Bridge enables new projects / parks to establish their own identity and image. The new Tournament Players golf course and anticipated Westbank housing developments may serve as key supporting / catalytic amenities on the Westbank. The expansion of the Huey P. Long Bridge will open up the Westbank to workers traditionally concentrated on Eastbank, and increase the impetus for Westbank residential development (versus north of Lake Pontchartrain).
29 Overall Conclusions (continued) While our Tier 1 / Recommended sites are on the Westbank, the site north of New Orleans International Airport offers compelling traits for office park development, including: Proximity to the airport; Visibility on the I-10 Interstate; and Favorable Eastbank access to population centers and overall Parish resources. However, in its present state, the site presents significant potential difficulties meeting the stated objectives of the Technology Park: Only 21 acres are airport-controlled, and the parcels in their current state may not be large enough to accommodate an office building and needed infrastructure; Additional land would need to be expropriated from multiple residential owners, a process that is expected to take no less than 3 months; Several public streets and their associated utility infrastructure would need to be abandoned and removed; The site’s position at the end of a runway may not appeal to some prospects due to concerns with noise levels, physical safety, height restrictions, etc.; and, The site is surrounded mostly by residential development, and this could ultimately limit the image that can be cultivated for the Technology Park.
30 Overall Conclusions (continued) In light of these considerations, JEDCO and The Jefferson EDGE Technology Committee may wish to consider pursuing the development of the Airport site on a parallel track with a larger Westbank site. Once aggregated, the airport site could accommodate in-fill development of office buildings, which might be particularly desirable to local companies concerned with locating on the Westbank. To this end, the process of aggregating the land and abandoning the streets could be explored further. In order for the site to be attractive to external companies seeking ready-to-go sites, substantial progress toward site aggregation is needed. In order to further assess the development feasibility of the site to the north of the airport, we will include it in our Phase 2 analysis, along with the Tier 1 / Recommended sites.
31 Additional Considerations We recommend that JEDCO use the site information gathered during this project to create site-information packages that can be used to respond rapidly to corporate prospects in the future. Complete and uniform site profiles/descriptions should be developed for each site. Thorough, high-quality site profiles are a competitive advantage in the site- selection process. This will require additional follow up and documentation regarding unknowns for the sites. Furthermore, JEDCO should consider identifying developers possibly interested in speculative buildings and / or park development for this and future opportunities.
32 Next Steps and Discussion The Tier 1 sites, and the site north of the airport, present unique strengths and challenges that must be further evaluated to determine which is the optimal site (i.e., the finalist site). Phase 2 of the Project entails additional due diligence regarding the steps, timing and cost of the process to get each site to the ‘developed’ state. The primary steps to develop these greenfield sites could include: Conduct environmental, soils, and other condition assessments as needed to evaluate site preparation requirements / costs, and identify preferred sections of parcel(s); Gain access to or control the land via purchase or lease; Identify, qualify and establish relationship with development partners; Re-zone the site (and possibly surrounding areas) to appropriate designation; Develop preliminary design drawings to support development and permitting process; Obtain permit(s) to clear and grade (including, as necessary, wetland delineation and permitting); Complete utility and infrastructure (road) extensions (could include securing right of ways); and, Complete site improvements.
33 Next Steps and Discussion (continued) For each site, we will determine the steps and approvals likely to be required to develop the site, along with an estimate of the associated costs and timeline. In Phase 2, we will also evaluate the Tier 1 sites’ suitability within the broader context of the Parish’s technology-related assets, and the manner of technology-sector development envisioned in The Jefferson EDGE plan. The evaluation criteria and process will be developed in conjunction with the findings of the Technology Audit and other considerations, but examples may include: The types of facilities, industries and companies identified as the Parish’s target market by the Technology Audit; Access / support provided by the sites to the Parish’s technology assets and infrastructure (labor, universities, key companies, etc.); and, Relationship to the Parish’s master land use plan (Envision Jefferson 2020) and long-term community development initiatives.
34 Next Steps and Discussion (continued) At the start of Phase 2, it might be beneficial for JEDCO and The Technology Committee to re-establish and confirm their vision and objectives for the Park, as well as their role in its development. What is the spectrum of facility types to be included in the Park? Should the development of a second park on Eastbank be considered? Is a 1-year development timeframe still the target? To what extent should the site be improved so as to be desirable for prospects? What level of ownership or control will JEDCO and Parish entities have in the Park and its infrastructure, speculative buildings, etc.? How can the capabilities of JEDCO and other Parish entities be leveraged to reduce the development costs and timeframe? What are the potential and desired roles for developers and owners? What funding mechanisms will be used to fund / finance utility extensions, site improvements, spec-building construction, etc.? Revisiting these issues and confirming the collective vision for the Park is essential for building consensus and soliciting participation among stakeholder entities (developers, land owners, permitting agencies, municipality jurisdictions and constituents).
35 APPENDIX Data Summary Forms for All Candidate Sites