Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shell, other business returning.
Shell's return ... is very, very significant," says Mark Drennen, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. "It has been a major corporate player in New Orleans historically, and its loss would not only have been a huge economic blow, it would have a been a very serious blow to our recovery efforts as well." Among large manufacturing firms, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are back, along with a sizable share of their workforces. About 90 percent of the hotels have reopened. Most of the major law firms have also returned. In the city's Central Business District, Hertz Investment Group has opened four office buildings - and all are more in demand than before Katrina. "We have been pleasantly surprised by how many of our tenants are back," says Gary Horwitz, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles-based firm. "The leasing activity is as strong as we've ever seen [in] the Class A office market in New Orleans."

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