Shell Announces Plans to Build Office in River District Neighborhood

NEW ORLEANS — Shell announced that its New Orleans-based employees soon will be leaving their workspace at the former One Shell Square on Poydras Street — but they won’t be going far. Local executives of the British multinational oil and gas company announced plans to construct a new mid-rise office building in the planned River District Neighborhood, just upriver from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Shell has agreed to a 12-year lease in a 142,000 square-foot multi-floor office building that’s scheduled to open in late 2024 or early 2025. The new space on Convention Center Boulevard — at the corner of Henderson and Euterpe streets — will serve as Shell’s Gulf of Mexico operations headquarters. It will house roughly 850 workers.

This will be the first major office space in the River District and the first Class A office building to be constructed in New Orleans since 1989, when Benson Tower (then called Dominion Tower) debuted. 

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The news is cause for celebration for economic development officials, who are delighted to keep a major employer in town. No word yet about who might fill Shell’s current space at the Hancock Whitney Center in the CBD.

“Greater New Orleans Inc. has been working with Shell for years to help maintain their presence in New Orleans in Louisiana, and has been a supporter of the River District from the start,” said Michael Hecht, GNO Inc. president and CEO. “This is one of the biggest economic development wins for New Orleans in a decade. It means that we are keeping Shell here in New Orleans with over 850 jobs, not to mention all the offshore jobs. Also, it means that the river district — one of the most exciting new neighborhoods in all of America — now has a major anchor tenant which will catalyze the project moving forward and getting done.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, River District developers and other stakeholders joined Shell executives at a Sept. 14 press conference announcing the news.

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“This is an exciting announcement that further solidifies the long standing and successful relationship between Louisiana and Shell,” said Edwards. “From traditional oil and gas exploration to the current clean energy transition, we are continuing to build on the strength of our partnership by creating more opportunities for economic development and growth that will benefit our people and bring a dynamic addition to the River District neighborhood of New Orleans.”

The River District is being developed by Dallas-based Cypress Equities in partnership with Lauricella Land Company, a local group. The partners are planning a mixed-use development on 40-plus acres of land next to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The goal is to create a “new, diverse, sustainable, and dynamic community and revitalize the New Orleans riverfront as a hub of commerce,” said a River District spokesperson.

The partners were selected in 2021 by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Authority to bring the project to life.

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“We are delighted to welcome Shell, a global leader in corporate responsibility and community investment, to our new neighborhood,” said Louis Lauricella, managing partner of Lauricella Land Company. “The River District represents a generational opportunity to develop a ‘new’ New Orleans neighborhood that is sustainable and integrated with the surrounding areas, offering the ability to work, play and stay on the Mississippi River.”

The building will be designed by global architecture, design and planning firm Gensler. It is expected to be LEED certified for sustainable design, construction and operations.

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Courtesy of Gensler

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