KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Friday's auction of "buyout properties" surrounding Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will give Kenner officials an idea of how many of the 31 bundles of vacant land may be returning to commerce.
The auction starts at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 29 in the New Orleans City Council Chambers.
A total of nearly 400 properties mostly south and east of the airport on 23 different city blocks was purchased beginning in the late 1980s by the Federal Aviation Administration as a result of noise readings.
None of the tracts of land can be used as residential property, according to FAA rules.
Additional rules require that prospective buyers follow the city of New Orleans' Surplus Real Estate auction procedures. That means a 10 percent deposit - in cash, certified check or money order - must be received within 60 minutes of the completion of the auction. The rest of the cost of the property will be due at the act of sale.
Kenner Acting Mayor Michael Sigur and Chief Administrative Officer Michael Quigley said city officials will following the auction and the efforts of any developers very closely.
"It's important for our existing property owners to know that we will be working closely with any new property owners to assure all zoning and code regulations are followed," Sigur said.
Kenner administrations have been working to get those properties back into commerce for some time, but city officials say the process has been complicated because the land is located in Kenner and controlled by FAA and the city of New Orleans, said Kenner's Chief Administrative Officer Mike Quigley.
The money from the sales will go to the FAA, but Kenner will benefit with new businesses offering important services, paying taxes and perhaps expanding in the future. None of the tracts can be used as residential property.
The airport was built in 1950 when Kenner had just 2,375 residents, but as the city grew to become the 6th largest in the city by 1980 – at the same time airport traffic increased dramatically – noise became a major issue.
Quigley said the idea to sell the vacant land in bundles came from a 2013 report that the city commissioned on ways to handle sales of the noise mitigation property. Bundling the land reduces the chances that developers pick and choose individual pieces of property, leaving some nearby vacant tracts that may be small or oddly-shaped.