Hornets Bring Investment; Iberville Redevelopment Progresses

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor The sports industry may soon contribute more to the Crescent City’s economy. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson’s purchase of the New Orleans Hornets seems close to being a done deal. WWL-TV reports that the framework of ownership negotiations has the Hornets tied to the Big Easy through 2024. However, the [...]

The sports industry may soon contribute more to the Crescent City’s economy. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson’s purchase of the New Orleans Hornets seems close to being a done deal.

WWL-TV reports that the framework of ownership negotiations has the Hornets tied to the Big Easy through 2024. However, the New Orleans Arena is in need of $50 million in renovations and upgrades. The Hornets are also discussing a brand-new training facility, estimated to cost about $20 million in order to meet NBA standards. Of this amount, $10 million would have to be put forward by the team’s owner, as specified by the contract under discussion. The practice facility is not a new concept; there has been talk of a new one for the last decade–since the basketball team moved to New Orleans. At the time, city officials reserved land in New Orleans East, but there was also talk about developing the facility in the vicinity of the arena.

Although its future location is still undetermined, the facility would create much needed jobs in the area, and there is hope that such a center would attract high-quality sports medicine to the city, especially since the biomedical industry is on the rise in New Orleans.

In other news, The Times-Picayune reported that the New Orleans Housing Authority has approved the purchase of the old 17-story Texaco building and the sale of the structure to Iberville’s developers. As previously reported, the structure will be redeveloped into a mixed-use project including 112 seniors housing apartments and 4,500 square feet of commercial space.

Iberville is New Orleans’ last traditional public-housing development. Hano received a $30.5 million grant from the U.S  Department of Housing and Urban Development to start  its redevelopment. The Iberville-Treme redevelopment project plans to invest $589 million in the 23-acre, 300-square-block area between Tulane and St. Bernard avenues. The project would see 2,445 new apartments constructed, as well as many retail units and cafes. The first leg of necessary demolitions is to start this fall.

Photo credit: The New Orleans Hornets’ Facebook Page