Jefferson Parish officials are preparing a package of incentives for Avondale Marine as part of the company's plan to redevelop the 206-acre former Avondale shipyard.
The Parish Council will consider a resolution next week supporting an agreement between JEDCO, the parish's economic development arm, and Avondale Marine. The agreement, which is not finalized, will include a PILOT, or "payment in lieu of taxes," program.
Under the program, parish officials would take into account the purchase and construction costs, as well as economic benefit to the parish, when negotiating the amount of taxes Avondale Marine, which until Thursday was known as HRE New Orleans, will pay on the riverfront property.
Parish President Mike Yenni said officials are working hard to get a deal done to bring the shuttered industrial site back into use.
"This is getting closer to the Avondale sale being a reality," Yenni said. "We're doing anything we can do to move this deal forward."
Redevelopment of the former shipyard site has long been a goal of politicians and business leaders in both New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
The shipyard was once Louisiana's largest private employer. But in 2011, owner Northrop Grumman Corp. announced plans to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in Mississippi. In 2013, the number of employees at the facility dropped sharply as the last Navy ship built there was completed.
Jefferson officials believe redevelopment of the site into a transportation hub will return the facility to being a job magnet for the region. They estimate the site could support more than 2,000 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs.
Over 25 years, the redevelopment could generate $36 billion in output and more than $650 million in local taxes, according to Parish Councilman Paul Johnston.
In March, HRE announced it had a contract to purchase and redevelop the site, which includes more than 7,900 feet of riverfront access.
HRE New Orleans was a partnership between Hilco Global, an Illinois financial services firm, and T. Parker Host Inc., a shipping agent based in Virginia. According to filings with the secretary of state's website, Avondale Marine has the same mailing address as Hilco's headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois.
Hilco has redeveloped other port sites, including Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore, once the site of a Bethlehem Steel plant and now a 3,100-acre multimodal global trade facility.
The proposed redevelopment of the Avondale site also has the support of the Port of New Orleans, which agreed with the company on operating within the port's tariff structure. The port and HRE also entered into an agreement to hasten the development of an intermodal facility at the site.
Avondale Marine is expected to turn the site into a waterfront industrial complex with a mix of small and large businesses related to logistics, shipping and other activities. But before that, the company and the site's current owner, Huntington Ingalls Industries, have to finalize a purchase agreement.
Details of the incentive program with Jefferson Parish are still under discussion, according to a draft of the council resolution.
Final terms, including the amount and length of the tax breaks and any clawback provisions if the project does not meet expectations, will have to be brought before the council before the agreement can take effect, the resolution says.
A separate resolution for Wednesday's council meeting also expresses "the willingness and ability of the Jefferson Parish Council to provide fire, water and wastewater services" for the site.