Those three companies alone created nearly 300 jobs, with retailers creating hundreds more.
In addition, NOLABA initiated new programs to help build on-ramps to opportunity for the city’s young adults and established new ways to connect the city’s large and small businesses for mutual benefit.
“In 2015, we saw substantial growth in our economy,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Together with the New Orleans Business Alliance, we’re attracting new retail to our city and creating and attracting new businesses. Every neighborhood in our city is being positively impacted by this success and since taking office in May 2010, we have created 10,000 new jobs. Our city is on a roll and now is a great time to invest in New Orleans. We are looking forward to even more success in 2016.”
“Since its inception, the New Orleans Business Alliance Board and staff have worked tirelessly to help build a sustainable economy for the city of New Orleans,” said NOLABA Board Chairman Henry L. Coaxum, Jr. “This year has been no exception, and our Board members are extremely proud of the organization’s accomplishments, particularly in attracting new retailers and new business investment. We’re looking forward to more exciting progress in 2016.”
Building the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
New Orleans’ entrepreneurial landscape and growing tech scene garnered worldwide attention this year. NOLABA’s business attraction and retention efforts contributed to this with the addition of the following technology-based organizations:
- Torsh, an education tech firm that relocated from New York City – 10 new technology jobs
- Collision – the industry’s visionary tech conference is moving from Las Vegas to New Orleans
- Game development studio inXile Entertainment, led by industry icon Brian Fargo, is opening its first non-California studio here – 50 new jobs over 5 years with average salaries of $75,000 plus benefits (64 indirect jobs)
- Smashing Boxes announced they are expanding here from Research Triangle, NC – 85 new direct jobs with average salaries of $75,000 plus benefits (86 indirect jobs)
NOLABA’s business development team also helped organize and attract participants for the inaugural IDEAtour, a new initiative co-sponsored by GNO, Inc., NOLABA and The Idea Village to efficiently inspire and recruit national companies to New Orleans via a 24-hour curated experience. The IDEAtour showcased the city’s startup assets and introduced participants to local entrepreneurs. NOLABA recruited many of the participating companies and is well on the way to turning those prospects into new NOLA-based businesses.
In addition to these entrepreneurial investments, the city’s BioInnovation and Health Services cluster continues to provide new jobs and options for residents. This year marked the groundbreaking of the new Cobalt Medical Center in Mid-City, a $24 million state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility to treat traumatic brain injuries, concussions, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions. Cobalt has focused on local businesses to carry out the building’s construction and expects to employ nearly 180 people once complete. The project has so far created approximately 400 direct and indirect jobs, spending more than $13 million with Louisiana-based contractors during construction, 84 percent of which are in New Orleans.
Retail Attraction & Expansion
More than 30 new retailers announced or opened in New Orleans in 2015, including a number of popular national brands along major retail corridors and expansions by local businesses. As a result, the City is on track to surpass $200 million in sales tax collections for the first time since 2010. Neighborhoods across the city have benefitted from the new retail options, including the following 2015 highlights:
- CVS – the first to bring-much needed national retail to the Lower Ninth Ward
- New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood – announced new location in New Orleans East
- Magnolia Marketplace – six new retailers, several of whom are new to Orleans Parish (*) – brings jobs and amenities to the Claiborne Corridor
- Shoe Carnival*
- TJ Maxx
- Raising Cane’s
- South Market and adjacent area – booming with new retail to serve the influx of downtown residents.
- Barre 3
- Blaze Pizza
- Company Burger – local expansion
- Magasin – local expansion
- Hattie Sparks – local entrepreneur
- Stonefree Boutique – local entrepreneur
- Offices at MidCity Market – new phase of development – first tenant opened 2015
- Orangetheory Fitness
- More to come
- Fogo de Chao
- Vom Fass
Connecting New Orleanians to Jobs & Opportunity
To help resolve barriers to economic success for city residents and small businesses, NOLABA undertook a number of initiatives designed to prime individuals and organizations for prosperity:
- Future Building Fridays – new partnership between NOLABA & GNO Inc. to inform educators about skilled trade career opportunities in high-growth industries such as life sciences and digital media.
- Youth Force – a new internship program co-sponsored by the City of New Orleans, NOLABA, Chevron, EducateNow! and Juma to bring intensive workplace skills to Orleans Parish public school teens
- Innovation Louisiana – co-sponsored by NOLABA and New Orleans BioInnovation Center to improve bioinnovation entrepreneurs’ access to services and capital necessary to growth.
- Anchor Institutions Initiative – strategic effort to connect local small businesses with procurement and contracting opportunities with organizations so deeply rooted in New Orleans that they are unlikely to move, such as hospitals, universities and the Sewerage & Water Board.
”As a result of our business development efforts and innovative new initiatives, we made good progress this year and I am truly encouraged by these achievements. But we know much work remains to ensure on-ramps to opportunity exist for all New Orleanians and that drives us every day,” said NOLABA President and CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “Fortunately, we have a committed business community, city officials that support economic development – from the Mayor and his team to a fully engaged City Council – and energetic partners, all of whom help to build this ideal intersection of commercial success and quality of life we call New Orleans. I fully believe we’re going to see even an even stronger New Orleans economy in 2016, in which NOLABA will play a vital role.”