Two years after it was put up for sale, the former Avondale shipyard has found a buyer, but few details have been released about the idle West Bank facility's future.Nobody is saying who the buyer is but it's obvious a lot of people know. The article points out some things a lot of us in the public already kind of know. For example, there had been speculation that Avondale would end up as part of the deal between the City and the Port over the Public Belt Railroad. My understanding was that the occupants of the soon to be demolished Gov. Nicholls and Esplanade wharves might be relocated to Avondale. But then we read recently that they're moving to a facility on France Road.
Huntington Ingalls Industries executives disclosed the development Aug. 3 in an earnings call with analysts. The Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia, where the defense giant is based, first reported the news Tuesday.
"We signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for the sale of the property," Chris Kastner, Huntington Ingalls' chief financial officer, told analysts, according to the report. "While this is a positive step toward an eventual sale, a comprehensive due diligence process will now be initiated before the potential buyer is obligated to close."
Beci Brenton, a Huntington Ingalls spokeswoman, confirmed the agreement Wednesday but declined further comment.
On Thursday, the port's governing board approved the broad outlines of an arrangement that would terminate TCI's current lease in favor of a new deal for property the port will purchase for $10.5 million at 4325 France Road, along the Industrial Canal.That's pretty nice for the tennant that they're making it worth their trouble. It's also nice they were able to arrange the shipyard purchase at such a steep discount. Really helps spread the wealth around a bit.
TCI's new lease will be for 20 years and will allow it to occupy the France Road property immediately. It will pay no rent for two years to cover relocation expenses.
In recent months, Huntington Ingalls dropped the asking price for the Avondale property to $95 million from $125 million, Jerry Bologna, president and CEO of the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, said.Speaking of which, it also works out well for the France Road property owner that the Port is apparently able to pay almost twiced the assessed value.
The France Road property is now owned by Gulf Coast Shipyard Realty LLC, land records show. That company is owned by a group with ties to Shane Guidry, the chairman and CEO of Harvey Gulf International Marine, a marine transportation company.That looks like a pretty sweet deal for Shane Guidry. Wait. Who is Shane Guidry, again?
The Orleans Parish Assessor's Office values the France Road property at more than $5.5 million.
During the last three years, Shane Guidry has become Louisiana’s most generous campaign contributor. In addition to serving as the CEO of Harvey Gulf, Guidry is also the special assistant to Attorney General Jeff Landry, where he collects a $12,000 annual salary and oversees the department’s criminal investigations unit. Landry was once Guidry’s personal lawyer.Please enjoy that article, by the way. Guidry has a lot of friends besides Landry. Billy Nungesser, Cameron Henry, Newell Normand... pretty much all of your favorites and ours show up in there somewhere. Certainly can't hurt your chances of getting in on the big deals like this.
Anyway, can't wait to find out who bought the shipyard.