New Orleans-Area Self-Storage Facility Expects Challenges As Big Employer Leaves Town

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The planned closing of a shipbuilding facility in Avondale, La., in 2013, will affect many local businesses in the Greater New Orleans area, including Avondale Self Storage.

Defense contractor and Louisiana's largest employer Northrop Grumman announced in July 2010 it would close the shipbuilding plant two miles away from the self-storage facility. The closure will result in 5,000 job losses and, consequently, a significant blow to the area's economic base and perhaps population. Avondale Self Storage is two miles away from the plant.

Avondale Self Storage owner David Loeb started investigating opening the facility three years ago. With much vacant land in the area and the Huey P. Long Bridge expansion, he saw promise for plenty of traffic and growth. The stable workforce at the  Avondale shipyard weighted heavily in his decision to pursue the venture. Now, with the impending plant closure, Loeb's facility faces an uncertain future. He told the Daily Comet he plans to attract business through value-added services, such as laptop stations connected to free wireless Internet, copying services and shipping and office supplies.

Loeb attached his name to a letter sent this month to President Obama, asking him to intervene and perhaps save the facility. This same group of small-business people met with U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, at a U.S. Highway 90 truck stop in May to share their concerns. Richmond shared with the Daily Comet the federal government is investing $1.5 million to conduct a site study of the closing plant and to search for potential new tenants.

Avondale Self Storage is located directly on U.S. Route 90, a currently well-traveled highway. The town itself is on the West Bank of the Mississippi River and is southwest of New Orleans.

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