Former Times-Picayune plant one step closer to demolition
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NEW ORLEANS — The old Times-Picayune building is one step closer to demolition after a city board voted unanimously to effectively freeze property taxes for the site for the next 12 years as part of a tax incentive package for the developers. The Industrial Development Board on Tuesday voted to approve a PILOT — or payment in lieu of tax — that will require Drive Shack to pay the city nearly $265,000 a year until the agreement expires.
In addition to the PILOT that will bring in about $3.1 million, Drive Shack and the city struck a separate deal that will see the business pay an extra 2 percent in sales tax. Plans call for the old newspaper plant to be torn down so a $29 million Drive Shack driving range can be built in its place.
Demolition of the building is expected to begin in the coming weeks with construction on the Drive Shack expected to wrap by late 2019.
Mike Sherman, an attorney for Drive Shack, told the IDB that the business will create more than 300 jobs. Terms of the PILOT also require 40 percent of the construction workers hired to live in the city. A group of local businessmen, including Joe Jaeger, Arnold Kirschman and Barry Kern, bought the building for $3.5 million in 2016.
The Times-Picayune building, which opened in 1967, was closed in 2015 after printing was moved to Mobile, Alabama. Before that, most of the staff relocated to offices in the Central Business District and the newspapers former East Jefferson bureau in Metairie.
Ahead of the planned demolition, crews recently removed massive murals by Enrique Alferez that depict the history of written communication. Work to complete environmental abatement also was completed.
The city’s Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee earlier this month voted unanimously to approve demolition of the building.
Danny Monteverde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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