Avondale transformation nearly complete; major announcement expected soon
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There are new signs of life at the once dormant Avondale shipyards.
Three years after it was purchased by a multi-modal shipping conglomerate, activity returned to its docks.
Avondale shipyards at one time employed 26,000 people and was one of Louisiana’s largest economic engines. All that changed when it shut down seven years ago.
T. Parker Host owns it now and let our cameras in for the first time in three years.
A $100 million transformation of old Avondale shipyards is underway and it all begins at a dock that hasn’t launched a ship in more than a decade.
“Below the dock, we had to do a lot of repairs and above it pour a new slab for 3,000 feet of commerce and trucks,” said Host Avondale CEO Adam Anderson.
Crews are either tearing down or refurbishing old cranes. The state of Louisiana pitched in $1 million for a new entrance, and some shipping has already begun.
Thousands of tons of aluminum, sugar, and other materials are now being transported through this multi-modal facility at Avondale.
The goal is to attract several major tenants who may be able to use much of this 270-acre space for manufacturing and shipping.
“Our long-term vision is to have four to seven industrial tenants on this side, a marine-based industrial park for importing or exporting goods and adding value and building on-site,” said Anderson.
Workers tore down dozens of old buildings and installed new rail links, with more than 150 people now on the job at Host’s Avondale site.
But employment could expand to about 1,000 jobs as major tenants move in.
Everything from auto shipping companies to new opportunities for wind power are being explored.
“When we looked at Avondale we looked at onshore wind and the gulf. With all the infrastructure for building ships and for the growing wind industry, it’s exciting,” said Anderson.
The docks are now once again open and they can handle two ships, but that capacity should double within the year with a major tenant announcement expected by the first of the year. By the end of the year, Host’s Avondale facility will be able to handle 500 trucks a day. They say they have about 30 jobs currently available, and more are on the way.
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