Port Nola Announces Inner Harbor Economic Redevelopment Plan

The Port of New Orleans is collaborating with the city of New Orleans on a plan to redevelop sites along either side of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, also called the Industrial Canal. The effort, funded by a $200,000 planning grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is called the Port Inner Harbor Economic Revitalization (PIER) Plan. Funding for the plan was awarded competitively as part of the EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant program.

The port hosted a public meeting to introduce its PIER Plan October 30 at the port’s administration building. Port officials also participated in a neighborhood summit at the University of New Orleans.

“Ultimately, this is about creating a more cohesive and compatible corridor,” said Amelia Pellegrin, the port’s director of sustainable development. “We think there is a lot of opportunity for the port and the city to collaborate more effectively, to bring more resources to this corridor and to help leverage additional resources and partnerships for implementation.”

The PIER Plan seeks to engage businesses and residents affected by development along the Inner Harbor; envision future development around a pair of catalyst sites (one at the southern end of the canal and the other closer to Lake Pontchartrain); identify challenges to redevelopment; and strengthen partnerships with an eye toward implementing and funding the redevelopment plan.

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Pellegrin pointed out that port-owned property covers about 1,000 acres along the Inner Harbor, with tenants renting property from the port.

“We have about a 25 percent vacancy rate right now,” she said. “This is a really unique opportunity for industrial waterfront redevelopment in an urban area.”

The port hopes that focusing on the two catalyst sites will lead to accelerated interest in other vacant properties along the Inner Harbor.

By early next year, the port hopes to identify an implementation strategy for the redevelopment effort, with ongoing implementation over the next two years. The October 30 open house included representatives from the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Business Alliance and job training organizations, highlighting the collaborative nature of the plan.

An overview of the PIER Plan and a map of the Inner Harbor is available on the Port of New Orleans’ website.