WWL>Topics>>2-10-14 1:10pm Angela: on NOLA's downtown development

2-10-14 1:10pm Angela: on NOLA's downtown development

Feb 10, 2014|

Angela talks about the changes coming to downtown New Orleans with Kurt Weigle of the Downtown Development District and Michael Hecht of GNO, Inc.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Happy Monday and it is happy Monday hoping that a wonderful weekend. I have to tell you on Friday we did the show on the incredible fund raiser that was going to be held -- once held last night. For the Philippine recovery. And it at rock handle it turned out so beautifully and if you didn't hear it it was such a heartfelt. Thing by the Philippine community. And a couple of -- at what can we do as New Orleans to help. Because we of course were helped by the world. The fund raiser last night was to raise. Money for boats because the livelihood of area where it was hardest hit for 6000 people died thousands are still not found. Is boats and fishing. So for 600 dollars. A boat could be -- and three fishermen could use that votes of three families per vote. Could. Start again. They were hoping to raise enough for fifty votes they raise enough for 100. I just think it's a real testament to New Orleans that it continues to be compassionate. Care. Any thank you to all appeal. Now we are moving on to three I think tremendous shows. We're gonna start with economic development and in the next hour we're going to be talking to Tonya to. Who is it law professor to blame in are gonna talk about not only the Ray Nagin trial but also the trial of -- Jefferson Parish and the flooding. And also the police who have recently been released from prison. Concerning Henry -- -- just sort of an update on what's going on. And our third -- not to be missed we will be talking with really one of this country's real authorities. On The Beatles so I hope you'll stay with us for the the announcement that a company that left New Orleans after Katrina was coming home. The kind of shock waves in the business community which have grown to a lot. Like the building of a new terminal at New Orleans international airport and the creation of the new culinary and hospitality institute. It's one thing to say our area is open for business. It's quite another to -- approved. We're gonna talk about the economic development happening before our eyes and what it means for our future. And more importantly what it means for yours. Stay with us as we talk with Michael packed with you know ink and Kirk Michael with the downtown development district government the two were both here. Thank you and so we're just happy to be here this and uplifting hour. We're all about the -- You never have a down day. I want anybody who wants to talk to these two men who really know so much about what's going on. Things remain on and get to not to give us a call 260187. My first question is what are we doing right. -- say a great question and I think that I'm gonna inverted a little bit because over the past five years working with people occurred on this. But I think -- come to appreciate more than ever. Is that. It's not so much week we are doing right because those things that we have them make us right we've always had they've been the river. They've been energy deepening culture they've been generally inexpensive business conditions. But for so many decades now they were suffocated under what we were doing wrong. Crime corruption flood and education. And so I think a lot of our success stories like International Shipholding company founded here in 1947. Coming home. Is not that we have done these things so much better now but that was mitigated the negatives are education's getting much better our crime is getting much that -- -- protections much better. So if you think about if you're accentuating the positives are eliminating the negatives a lot of press has been eliminating these negatives. -- if I certainly agree with Michael I think also one of the things we've done particularly well since the storm. Is we have we have focused on the things like Michael said that make this a special place. The things like the culture and we've drawn those out as economic development assets in a way that I think we didn't enough we all celebrated them as a community. Before the storm and I think now. You know based on all over understanding about how economic development works which is a large part of which is retaining the best and the brightest we had chipped out Norah -- talent for years and for decades. Prior to the storm. In attracting the best and brightest from around the world we've got assets that folks are after and and and things like the culture even in digital media you know we we talk about -- affected. -- Owens was not a tech -- prior to the recent efforts. But north has always been an inspirational place a place where creative industries have forces creative pursuits. Better put if you're forced. And I think we've done a much better job of monetizing that. And and creating a sort of with fiscal impact on on the city in the state. The job impact and the wealth creation at the region deserves. Well let's start with let's start with the International Shipholding back in New Orleans it was after the storm they left they went to Alabama. That's right and I remember the collective gasp. When that happened that was a real kind of not to the knees knock them. And what brought them back. Yes -- what it was very significant International Shipholding left because it was a company that was not only locally born bred it was a real pillar. The economic and business community -- them with the johnsons were a very active in civic causes. On the usually one of our companies who -- most proud of what happened is that after Katrina we clues mr. ago. And to be honest at that point the state was unable or unwilling to make accommodations. To allows and so run their businesses so they were really forced to have to. Leave I think probably much to their their chagrin. There have been discussions going on on a simmer level since that time released its 2008. But we re engaged in significant way in late spring early summer of this year. And began to work with with the with the johnsons and work with the status or co partner to develop the package that. Could bring them back and so now they're coming back to avenue headquarters building on south Peters Obama hundred jobs plus over 200 indirect jobs. All coming back average salary 7000 plus but. What's more important than that actual win. Is a story that it tells which -- just mentioned is that in the new New Orleans the best and brightest people and companies we have statistical evidence of this. Are coming home and that dog is incredibly well for for a future. What does shipholding do what is the date data had they do shipping cargo maritime cargo. The world. Lost -- -- -- ago. Around the world they are one of the large purveyors of what's called Jones act ships return especially -- military dark heart when they're very big in bulk actually. I'm coming out of Mississippi River. One of the things is -- sting is that International Shipholding is now about twice as big a company as winning it left. After Katrina so we are not just getting. The old company back we're getting in new improved version with double the market capitalization. That had previously mr. go is still close to what they do well in fact what they're doing is that particular operations actually going to remain in mobile. So they're moving their headquarters here they're gonna grow there other operations here but. -- great question and those actual law operations of those barge operations are gonna remain there in in mobile. No it's wonderful news and you're absolutely right the Johnson family just generations of very good people so I'm glad I'm glad they're gonna come home to. Let's also talk about just because. You know I just -- that wonderful man who's our director of the airport I'm so impressed with them if you really look back. Our airport was sort of a sad -- there for awhile. And by golly that man came in and got it organized. And where the it was very controversial and how we were handling finances there that's been cleaned up and approved. And it's just like this energy comes out of look how proud we are the airport today looks great the fact that SE said in 14165. Days we're gonna have a new terminal. Is unbelievable. How many we talked about that for a long time in his community and now -- happening. I'm -- -- if -- -- -- in your first on this is because. Are probably our number one issue right now is that we are in discussions get a direct flight. From New Orleans to London. -- this would be a flight we be able to get on at 6 o'clock at night and you wake up the next morning at 9 AM on in London. And the implications of that for business community for convention work for a tourist community are obviously a very significant so. What's going on at the airport under after carts watch with the new aviation board casually made this possible. They've got operations now of that are are transparent and efficient. We are one of the only airports in the country that is growing in terms apart domestic lift. And miss -- terminal not only is it going to look appropriate with -- -- as the appellate design. But people don't realize is that actually is going to be much more efficient and is going to lower the cost per passenger for the airlines not -- let -- get even more flights but. Direct -- and we hope will be our next. That is beautiful news stay with us we're gonna continue our talk about economic development it's really happening here stay with us on Angela under the W well. Michael Hecht with GM -- -- Kurt Michael with the downtown development district our guest today talking about some. Just monumental things happening in this community we were talking about the airport and will we had done. It department loved him I keep saying that Ahmad. He brought that's. In Cincinnati they lost a hub. And we just -- course Cleveland is losing united which is going to be huge but he gave specific examples of one. But -- was lost in Cincinnati the businesses that left. And went to other places expressly saying we are leaving because we need to -- I thought to myself they're losing were gaining. I mean now we are getting more flights since the -- the London would be fabulous. But it just seems odd that -- finally New Orleans this ahead of the game and not retracting. And again it's that we now have a situation where an even in the airport. Because we have better management on these deals are possible before because we had this toxic combination. And content of incompetence and corruption. It wasn't just because we lost oil industry that we lost flights it wasn't. For other reasons that they went to Miami was essential that it was difficult for folks to do business with New Orleans in the general sense. And now that we've got an outstanding mayor we've gotten outstanding aviation board of gotten outstanding airport director. On folks are coming back to the table because at the end of the day we've got to geography we've got a culture we've got economic assets which make this viable around world. Yet if the risk of saying something that's anathema with an economic development. There are there are many places that have fairly high tax. High -- Scenarios. Her settings. Were businesses thrive but what they have is a sense of predictability and when you talk to business that's what they want most of all these wanna know what that the game is what the rules are. So that they can then plan through and and through and with that. And I think that you know what -- Michael's point points out is that now we have a much greater sense of of predictability. Because folks trust the system and and I think you you can't overestimate the value that in business attraction. Something very exciting that was announced last week it's going to be happening downtown is the new culinary hospitality institute that's good to be in a beautiful art works building. I've loved that building as many have it was sad that it didn't work for what it was. But his team Martins said this is another form of art you know -- food and that is a very exciting long time coming. Yeah -- think to happen in a food city yeah it is just going to be a cooking school it's going to be so much more. -- -- in this that this is effective point made earlier about how you know we've we've had assets here for a long time like the colon area culinary arts. That we really had not made enough of part of the storm and now we're finally getting that point work. We're starting to monetize that we're turning those into economic generators for for the city for downtown obviously and for for the region. And I think as long as we we keep on that track of understanding you know -- any good economic development planning understands starts with understanding your assets and and your liabilities as well so -- can deal with those like Michael pointed out. But understand your assets and I think this is such a perfect example we are we're at the top of the list when it comes to culinary cities in America. And now we're gonna start to bring more and more people here from around the world to take advantage of that and -- -- turn that into more jobs for New Orleans. And it's the beauty of it isn't just that it's you know the great. Culinary mines like team -- and John -- others Dickie Brennan. But it's also the universities who -- going to be part of it I mean how Smart is that. Well it's it's very Smart and it is something that Kurt subtle that Kurt alluded to which is that for the first time maybe ever. We're really value adding. And it could be -- Petro chemicals were beginning to refine our Petro chemicals and make value better products like bags and -- Which in the past would be shipped and made in Houston where they captured. That extra value. With our culture in the same way we produced probably more -- per capita than anywhere in the country. It leading capture the value on the back end and so on examples of -- make money playing jazz got a good Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. But now by having this school. We're gonna begin to you capture that guy on the back end but not only training our local kids in our local students at places like Delgado. But folks from around the world are going to come to new warlords get the culinary hospitality education and that's economic development because it means that outside dollars. We're going to be brought in. Near and dear to all of our hearts is the new medical core door and Kirk you can come update -- on we see the building we hear the hammers. -- -- -- And the last news I have is that in general terms you MC will university medical senators still -- open 2015. With the VA following on the heels and -- sixteen Hampshire that's not the case will get a call soon. But but -- -- have the value of these I think is something that I just don't think we as a community have really gotten our minds and our arms around. We're talking about 3000 brand new jobs newly created jobs. And and you know I think if if we we said we're opening a new auto planners -- planner. We're bringing 3000 new IT jobs we'd be doing cartwheels in the street. But these -- 3000 highly paid jobs an average on that are going to drive a new sector relatively new sector of the economy something. What once again -- and getting back to Michael's point where we've provided good health care in Orleans for a long time but with the new academic medical center. And with the VA now have the opportunity attract people from all over the country. 22 centers of excellence which is on the I think we had not been doing enough of prior to this. And so once again it's bringing those aren't outside dollars in and it's creating a lot of brand new jobs for new a New Orleans. The 3000 jobs will all be back in the medical community whether it's in -- researcher whether it's a nurse or whatever. And do we have seen that the people for that. I think that's that's an open question I think that their folks who were were scrambling to address that right now. My fears that we -- we are not going to be able to feel as many of these jobs in the short term with local folks just -- it's a it's a big gas that is a lot of jobs which is it's a good problem to have. But what that means is severe it's gonna end up being very good for four especially downtown and for for the central part of the city. Because from what we understand a lot of these folks who will come in from other places to take take some of these jobs please. They want to live in an urban place and wanna take advantage of -- the incredible downtown incredible city that we offer here -- -- -- And so -- this is I think why UC you know right now we've got we've got about a thousand new units of housing. In just one quarter of downtown. The the -- your comment quarter. That are under construction financed or in the and the final stages of planning and it will be apartments and or condoms may mainly apartments at this stage but we also know that historically many of those after a period of time we'll flip into condominiums so. Will -- of satisfying both vote vote sides but but you know I think. That's just one piece that it's gonna support retail it's gonna support so many other sectors of the economy. Because these folks will be part of the community spending their money in the city and the region. Thought there was a wonderful article about time someone. You'll know I don't know who's going to is proposing to build a sliver building. And but I was astounded when I have read that the rents would be like six -- 8000 dollars but he felt there was a market in do you have that sense that's. They'll be people to -- at that rate. Well I I've often told people give me a -- of something else sell eight and beyond that I'm not so sure -- But I think if it's not too many units there are probably as we've seen and we've seen rents downtown in the city. I'm continuing to trend trend higher and higher. Really beyond most people's expectations I think if you -- folks five years ago where repeat today. And so I think based on the trends. We can certainly support higher rents then we're seeing today. And I wanna say that I think that brings up an important question that is. How in addition to these these high end units how weakens create enough affordable housing downtown for four middle class folks to live and because I think that's that's part of what makes a community parade is not having just you know one economic segment but having -- all segments represented -- And so that's one thing that I'm proud of downtown is that that their more more units that are. Our -- targeted folks not just to make over -- 100000 dollars but 4200000. Dollars families in that range. Which I think is important -- forest. Stay with -- were gonna continue talking to. Two men who spend their lives talking about economic development and -- I want you to stay tuned we're gonna get your question as well but now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller. We are back with fun. With Kurt Michael from the downtown development district and Michael have with -- -- were talking about. Exciting things that are happening in this community and I appreciate Reggie holding on you had a question. Yeah thank you and -- very important discussion. I'm wondering. Winning proposed the built in new medical complex that was the problem. Thousand job not 3000 jobs. And remembered. Bill 27 square blocks that when -- -- -- That displayed 600 people. Dozens -- small businesses and didn't get the blood thinner so the era and the wider security at the rule. -- -- And on top. Technically call 8000 people. Obstacle he -- a bunch of them but they hired without their retirement. I want the commentators to comment because I think we have hole in our recovery. You know. Thank you very much for calling always do right. Well first of all -- The the statistics I think is an easy question to it to address because I mentioned only the new jobs that's 3000 brand new jobs and that's why focus on that figure. That doesn't count the 7000 retain jobs with a total job figure with a new -- hostile distilled 101000 jobs. But you know of course what excites us and economic development is yes the retention. But but the addition of all those new jobs and you know I certainly understand breads -- point and and I think it was difficult for a lot of us who were involved in this conversation from beginning to end. Two to say EI it's okayed to two move house's two to move businesses and so forth. But I think when you look at everything in balance when you when you look at the the pros and the cons. The economic impact and I think long term the social impact as well of this facility. I'm New Orleans outweighs the costs and and I think that. Most folks would agree with that I think I know that it's still that's still a sore point with some folks I certainly understand that. But I really have to come down on the side of of this new investment which in a way I think to a large degree. Helps us to create a new industry here and having an academic medical center allows us to do things like. More research more taking -- the research and and converting that into new industries new businesses for New Orleans. -- leaves us so much upside potential that I think we would have been crazy not to do it. The the point is also making about the layoffs attempt. The university medical centers so much of that was state mandated I mean really have higher -- and health care. I keep using the word got raped but -- and that's probably a little crude but it it really was devastating. To those industries and now they're putting them back. As we've talked to various university presidents are going to be able to because there's a little more money there. But that that are in that complaint needs to go to Baton Rouge. And the important thing is hopefully these feel that the jobs back nine I hear what that -- saying about they're getting their jobs back but not with a -- That's going all over this country doesn't make it right makes it aggravating anyway we're gonna move on from this thank you -- for calling in. Well let me that this sort of brings up another thought we've we've not heard so much and recent election. From the various candidates that with all of the progress that's happened exciting things -- retail that's come back blooming. We still have areas we have New Orleans east and we have the lower ninth. That are just. Wanting so desperately for things is there anything either and I -- you're downtown development district but. Anything that can be done to bring more life they're they've got the population and world's least they've got money into -- east they need businesses there. How can we get them there. -- It did so a little bit out of my Bailiwick but it's something that. Talked to people about and care about saw the TK's stab at a New Orleans east and -- and I think our. A very different situations as you said. In New Orleans east you've got you've got tens of thousands of people living there are it's middle class upper middle class community got money there. Quite frankly I think it has a branding problem. Which is something that we suffer from a New Orleans and Louisiana. For decades I think that. To some degree retailers particularly need to be educated better about the purchasing power in New Orleans east they can understand the opportunity that's being four on. There I'm in in the lower nine it's more an issue I think of of individual resources. And that individuals on just don't have the resource to rebuild. If that if you track rebuilding them by by individual wealth -- been a pretty straight. Correlation armed -- geno went to a we try to address that though is that we argue. I think with some -- that the recovery. Has to be broadly enjoyed meeting that the house BA range of jobs. There has to be jobs and in and hospitality and retail draft beat Purdue could be playing a blue collar jobs have -- white collar jobs because if that diversity. Of options is on there. And you risk not rebuilding evenly -- not rebuilding the middle class and if we don't rebuild the middle class we're gonna end up with a kind of economic part time that we have before. And we know that doesn't work that's a stable as -- said. Yeah I would just put in a pitch for -- of them the third amigo which is -- Miller phenomenal business -- I know that they have. Done a lot of work in trying to educate those retailers in particular about the advantages of of some of these outlying neighborhoods and and so I think that's some that -- there's work being done but Michael mimics appointment with regard to branding. I think there's certainly a lot more that can be done and I think that rod and his team are are on it from what I know. It just such a large land mash you think that's. What ever it is I mean I don't even know enough to say but. Whatever it is that there's a place there. Well there is one of the project were on which is just geographically related is that. Every time he got to Pensacola when you go by -- to see the spaceship there in your kids precious source the windows missing man if spaceships in Mississippi. But the fact is that every flight every ships its Apollo was built right here in New Orleans and folks in new loans don't know that let alone the rest of the countries who were actually working now. With NASA with -- to actually put either external fuel tank or actually a replica of the space shuttle. Out on I ten because we feel that people should know right that if he goes miles into space miles out -- -- or miles into the ground that technology was probably invented and perfected. Right here until Louisiana. Very very good stay with -- we're gonna continue our talk about economic development right after this. Believe -- talking about some very positive important things happening in our community. About economic development but it is not without some concerns and challenges. Such as. Michael -- I MI one of the concerns and challenges you are not then then you're in trouble. No it's it's it's definitely. Workforce first and foremost we are a growing so quickly as a state now as a region. That now I'm we're having growing pains and show everybody always talks about workforce on ice team beat the restaurant business like really know what that feels like a personal level. But what's happening if you look in technology where we are statistically defense is going tech community in the country. When you look at industrial jobs where we -- at the center of the next great energy boom for the country and we fed more announcements here in New Orleans and anywhere else in the south. What you're looking and hospitality and retail where there's something like 40% more white tablecloth restaurants than before Katrina everybody's doing this pinched. And what happens is that if we cannot address this and over time. Forget the new company's existing companies companies that have been -- before Katrina for decades are not going to be able to expand here. Not just because we treat her getting driven up but the simply aren't going to be fun pop -- people. So addressing this aggressively with a bifurcated strategy not just improving our training at places like dog -- and you know and the culinary institute. But also focusing more on recruiting in the near term to get people from around the country come here for the opportunity. And we knew from one of our studies 6% of people. In major marked on the country would move to New Orleans if there're jobs available. That recruiting is going to be essential problem for the next two to five years while we rent -- our training capacity yet. It's that your aunts and he'll go ahead. I think that the couple issues 11 is that a lot of the folks who came here in the first wave after Katrina from other places. They were really happy for a few years and they are doing great in the positions. I think one of the issues we deal with frankly now is that job letter we need to make sure that we've got enough jobs when you look at the places that are successful. Economically. There are there's a diverse enough job market the folks feel like they're not stuck in a single job and -- so so I think the more companies we bring here more diverse the the pool of companies we have here. The more. It's gonna help us with -- this this attraction issue in the retention issue the other is is also really that at ground level going back to the the to the the bio medical related jobs. A lot of these jobs probably between sixty and 80% of these jobs somebody with just associates degree. A true and associates' degree could do more or with a certificate. And so I think this goes back to Michael's point about the state and everybody getting getting on board and pulling in the same direction. We need programs that we can train our own so there were not just attracting folks from outside but we're training our own. Bringing people literally out of poverty through through these new jobs that are being created in -- in the center of our community. But I've just gotten a sense and I have no specifics that the universities and colleges around Delgado being a perfect example. Really working with industry to say what are your needs. I'm in colleges -- is an important part of life and growing in that time if you like but you wanna skilled at some point. Well that's right they go the way out of this is definitely gonna be through public private partnerships and I'll give you one example one idea that we're working on the example is that. We held a program recently though with -- god -- with their airline now highway campus. Where we took 800 high school students and they saw presentations from companies like leaks from like shell like turner. But he heard where they went into dual enrollment and took classes at Delgado busts on high school they can go on in a compressed period of time. Get there associates' degree graduate and make 7000 dollars a year plus benefits -- -- I was there I looked in their eyes the kids were very interest it's so. That's -- education and beyond that. We're now exploring the possibility for setting up apprenticeships. Because if you look around the world different countries like Germany very very rigid labor market their -- the most productive countries in the world. And the reason is because of apprenticeships. Because these companies are getting students when they're young and they teach them skill and the students are also seeing this as a way to pursue index -- middle class latter. So I think you're right Angela that these nuts and -- programs that match companies with students is is the way that -- after grosans. You know I'd just have like to follow up on the -- example because I think it's it's so helpful because of the statistic I mentioned before about how many of the jobs in biomedical. You don't have to have even a bachelor's degree to get on somebody with a certificate or associates agree is eligible for a large portion of these jobs. Which means that that that the the barrier is much less than if you were recording -- for your degree and so I think we is is actually a national issue. For too long we've we've got to like everybody has to get a bachelor's degree or higher. But and we've ended up with a lot of disappointed young people with businesses that don't have enough folks to hire. I think this idea of focusing and the associates some of the technical programs com is an important. Area of focus for us. But you know -- I can just hear that a number of mothers on know whose kids are finishing college in their -- -- where were they gonna get a job can they get a job here. And really what I'm hearing is if you hold on they're gonna be right here. I'm I think that the right here today and it's only going to grow how ever. Other skewed towards stem a science technology engineering and math and so if you are -- student and you're considering what to do. Highly recommend thinking about engineering thinking about technology because. Not just locally but around the country that's where the greatest demand they need is going to be and by the way I mean everything from blue collar -- process technology. All the way up to you white collar are -- computer code and what about -- -- what do you think is going to happen with it -- Ivan -- is actually a challenge for us right now on if you look at -- issue a few years ago we were very concerned about me she becomes the space shuttle was ending. But you know what was gonna happen there. We said we want to make a public private and diversified in today. You have Lockheed in there but they're building at tanks for votes you have -- dynamics building hundred meter along turbine blade -- movies being shot. And you have Boeing back in their building and having that -- take -- to Mars it's a huge success story. And have a Dell we're still working without Noah tried to get them the right tenant as a -- to doing search for the energy industry. It's the right move for the strategically it's a great location. But number we're not there yet. From -- but overall in this is still very hopeful you're right we have to be realistic we have some issues if its workforce. By golly let's address -- and people are an and that's very important. And get our own use our own wonderful people like these two men right here I cannot thank you both enough. Thank you make us feel better about who we are and -- is a bit about who we are to thank you thought. Thanks -- one -- stay with us we'll be right back. Well you cannot deny that things really are going in the right direction this community it's it's good to listen to the people who are on the streets all day long. Working on economic development and I'm so appreciative of Kurt Michael with the downtown development district. And Michael Hecht with them -- you know ink. But we need to hear these things we need to each year. That companies are coming back to town that where. What's happening in our medical community. Especially what's going to be happening at the airport and our wonderful culinary institute. Again thank you stay with -- we have. Tonya -- flowing in from Tulane law we're going to be talking all kinds of trials right after it is now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller.