Urban Fold

New Orleans Reborn: Development Returns to the Big Easy

New Orleans is shaking its distressed-city status as an influx of investment heads to town. National retailers and developers, many of them first-time investors in the city, are looking to set up shop.

It's hard to believe it's been seven years already since New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the city has witnessed the city's best tourism year on record in 2011, and a swath of new development. "A deeper sign of the city's resilience can be found in the national developers and retailers now coming to town as first-time investors," reports The New York Times' Shawn Kennedy.

"Taken together, these completely different retail projects demonstrate a new confidence by outside developers and retailers in New Orleans's post-Katrina economic strength. It also underscores the city's ability to successfully woo badly needed retail businesses." New Orleans suffers from below-average levels of retail business for a city of its size, says Kennedy.

Much of the new development has been focused in the city's downtown, such as the Howard Hughes Corporation's plans for a $70 million renovation and expansion of Riverwalk. "To help correct the retail imbalance," notes Kennedy, "earlier this year the city embarked on a loan and grant program intended to encourage the reopening or development of grocery stores in neighborhoods where shopping opportunities are sparse."

"Several areas are not part of any new plans," Rodrick Miller of the New Orleans Business Alliance said. "We need to do what we can to correct that."

Full Story: Vitality Reborn, New Orleans Draws Developers

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