Port of South Louisiana enters agreement to purchase Avondale Global Gateway
Published 9:14 am Saturday, January 14, 2023
AVONDALE — This week, Port of South Louisiana CEO Paul Matthews announced a Purchase and Sale Agreement with T. Parker Host to purchase Avondale Global Gateway, following the Port of South Louisiana Commission’s unanimous approval.
As the Western Hemisphere’s second largest tonnage port, Port SL is an elite player in global shipping markets and the acquisition of this 254-acre global logistics hub along the Mississippi River will allow the Port to be more competitive in traditional international trade and focus on the new frontier of renewable energy development.
A former shipyard, T. Parker Host has transformed Avondale Global Gateway into a center of multimodal commerce and combines river, road, and rail connections with ample storage and laydown space with a strategic location on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. Accommodating ships, barges, rail and trucks, the site offers immediate access to regional and interstate highway systems and is positioned at the interchange of six Class I railroads, creating the capability to distribute cargo in all directions.
“The state’s largest port is ready to own the state’s greatest industrial icon,” said Matthews. “This acquisition establishes Avondale Global Gateway as a permanent Economic Development arm of the State of Louisiana. The Port is laser-focused on expanding our operations and bringing prosperity to the Southeast Louisiana Region. I thank Adam and the entire T. Parker Host team for recognizing that our Port is the best partner to continue attracting investment. I am looking forward to working with our state and federal officials to transform and diversify Louisiana’s economy.”
The acquisition of Avondale Global Gateway will further solidify the Port of South Louisiana as the premier gateway for U.S. import and export traffic and aligns with our goals to facilitate economic development in the River Parishes and Southeast Louisiana through waterborne commerce.
Since purchasing the property in 2018, T. Parker Host has invested significantly in redevelopment. With this transaction, Port SL will enter into a long-term agreement with T. Parker Host to serve as the terminal operator.
Adam Anderson, president and CEO of T. Parker Host, reported, “Host saw the potential of the Avondale site and stayed the course through significant challenges to realize what Avondale could become. Our team of 300 Louisianans has returned the site to commerce as Avondale Global Gateway. Host will continue our work at Avondale as the terminal operator. As we look toward the next phase of Avondale Global Gateway’s evolution, we are confident this public-private partnership with the Port of South Louisiana positions the site at the forefront of the new frontier of renewable energy development, propelling the State of Louisiana into this new economy.”
In its heyday, Avondale Shipyard was Louisiana’s largest employer. Wealth was generated for tens of thousands of families from Jefferson, Orleans, the River Parishes, and the entire region. Over time, the shipbuilding business changed and consolidated, which eventually led to Avondale’s closing in 2014. Since then, officials and stakeholders have focused on creating a new path for Avondale.
“This acquisition of Avondale Global Gateway sets the stage for exciting new developments at the waterfront industrial park and will serve as a catalyst for new economic activity in Jefferson Parish and across our region,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. “Jefferson Parish is committed to a long-term partnership with the Port of South Louisiana, and we look forward to the continued job creation and tax generation for schools, public safety and infrastructure that Avondale Global Gateway will bring to our community.”
Avondale Global Gateway is well positioned for growth with almost 300 acres for development directly ashore and 1.5 million square feet of convertible warehouse or manufacturing space, including indoor and outdoor Foreign Trade Zone storage. Under the ownership of Port of South Louisiana, Avondale will become an economic arm of the state of Louisiana and eliminate the threat of Avondale ever being closed again by a private entity and leadership will have a greater focus on job creation and tax generation for schools, public safety, and infrastructure. Port SL will also have access to federal and state funding for further development.
“JEDCO led the effort to bring the former shipyard back into commerce in 2018. We thank T. Parker host for helping us achieve that goal,” said JEDCO president & CEO Jerry Bologna. “Now, we applaud the Port of South Louisiana for bringing an even greater focus to this asset. Port of South Louisiana’s emphasis on renewable energy aligns perfectly with goals outlined in the Jefferson EDGE, JEDCO’s economic development strategic plan. We look forward to the job creation, investment, and impact that will result from this partnership.”
According to a recent economic impact study released by Dr. Stephen Barnes, director of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center, Avondale Global Gateway is expected to create over 4,500 jobs and a total economic impact of $32 billion in output and increase Louisiana payrolls by $8.6 billion by 2027. The positive impacts will be felt by families and surrounding small businesses alike.
“We are excited for the continued growth of Avondale Global Gateway in Jefferson Parish,” said Jefferson Chamber President Ruth Lawson. “As a result, meaningful job opportunities will be created, and the West Bank will experience sustainable, long-term economic growth at the connection of rail, road, and river.”
The full bond application is anticipated to be $445 million. Accessing existing revenue generated on the property covers payments. Port SL leadership has also met with federal and state officials about additional funding for the acquisition.