SixFlags-JAZZLAND Proposal

SixFlags-JAZZLAND Proposal



“The ability to revitalize a community and share the culture of a 300-year old city that fundamentally shaped America depends on our ability to extend the metropolitan core of New Orleans. Known the world over for its distinctive architecture, food, music, culture and people the future of New Orleans is inexorably linked to the sustainable re-imagining of this prime development site at Six Flags/Jazzland.

Here we envision the creation of a “city within a city“—a new and vibrant nucleus designed with a fundamental understanding of the desires and aspirations of the community while reflecting a modern lifestyle in a changing climate. Because of this development, New Orleans East shall be the City’s next cultural destination—sustainable, green, resilient and above all cool!”

Executive Summary

In re-imagining the Six Flags/Jazzland Site we have designed a community that will be the catalyst for future investment in New Orleans East. Most importantly, it will create a new “city within a city.” Originally envisioned as a suburb within a city, The East was intended to be an escape from the urban landscape which gave birth to New Orleans culture. By taking a short commute, suburbanites could experience the culture without being a part of the lived experience that created it.

New Orleans is a unique place that is characterized by its distinct neighborhoods. In 1980 the City Planning Commission identified 73 distinct neighborhoods of those 18 have been labeled historic. For decades the effort, skill and industry of the City of New Orleans and its municipal subdivisions went into promoting and preserving those neighborhoods, while The East floundered due to a lack of investment. In re-imagining Six Flags/Jazzland we will embrace the cultural diversity of The East and extend the Metropolitan Core of New Orleans to include the sustainable, catalytic, mixed-use development described hereafter.

Situs Development Collective, LLC, has concepted the 162-acre main site to be a self-sustaining green community that provides uses and features that are not available in any other area of New Orleans. The allure of these programmed uses will draw visitors and patrons from the entire greater New Orleans Statistical

Metropolitan Area and from within a 2.5 hour drive time
radius. This development will be designed in a manner that evidences the City’s commitment to building with advanced methodologies that allow residents to
live in a wet environment using sustainable measures. Solar and geothermal power sources will be employed to keep operational cost to a minimum once completed.

Excavated materials from the formation of canals on site will be used to create new land for this development while enhancing exiting canals for viewing of developed areas. There will be a host of interconnected building platforms and bridges for use by the pedestrians who live, work and visit the development. The site will include grocers, retailers, restaurants, food & beverage,
museum(s), hospitality, education complex(s), passive and active recreational uses, entertainment venues, residential and office buildings. Market rate and affordable housing will be built using sustainable methods and proven flood resistant technologies.

This development will serve as the catalyst that entices locals and tourists alike to experience the unique culture in The East and the future of a sustainable New Orleans with its newly expanded Metropolitan Core.

Since Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans has suffered several political administrations that have done little for the New Orleans East neighborhoods of our City. Fortunately, the current administration has been paying attention to one of the City’s most vital areas of potential growth and expansion. In this case, the City has control of the direction that will be taken for the 162- and 65-acre IDB sites with the issuance of the RFQ now being considered for selection.

Although there have been useful and informative studies of the Six Flags/Jazzland acreage for use and development, we must pay specific attention not only to what may be desired by the areas around Six Flags/Jazzland but also the need for good paying jobs. The long term success of this redevelopment will depend uses that encourage economic growth and provide opportunities for increased earning potential. There is little precedent and comparables to be found close to the development site, so the need to supplement private capital with public incentives in this 3P development is a must.

The subject site is a federally mandated Opportunity Zone and provides means for investors to minimize taxes on Capital Gains. SDC has assembled professionals from the various sectors of the financial spectrum to acquire the capital necessary to fund the redevelopment of Six Flags/Jazzland. McClain Financial Group,

The Hackett Group and CFP3 will bring to bear decades of
institutional knowledge that will be laser focused on funding.

The combination of public uses and private profit-making uses work together to make a complete mixed-use community. The concept intention is to create a destination for entertainment, shopping, and recreation while supporting small businesses. There will be on-site multifamily residential uses along with single family developments which will surround the current site. In summarizing the forgoing, we have concepted a 24-hour sustainable development that is a complete neighborhood. Our vision represents a diverse combination of uses and vibrant living environments within the site. This development brings together the highest and best uses by means of leading edge design and development concepts all born of the skill of our development team members.

Although we have begun the development concept process, the final design will be vetted by our development leadership and the design/engineering team in concert with the City and their stakeholders, and aligning with final funding commitments once feasibility work has been completed on the combination of
uses and costs.

Narrative & Approach

Redevelopment Vision

The redevelopment vision for all development projects begins with the particular site to be redeveloped. For the Six Flags/Jazzland Site Redevelopment and from this perspective, our team of consultants has completed an analysis of the site’s surrounding uses and the history of the site itself. The City of New Orleans has taken the step of advertising the area under its control for redevelopment proposals.

Situs Development Collective, LLC has a vision for the Six Flags/Jazzland site that would be transformative for the entire New Orleans East area. With the mix of uses contained within the primary 162-acre site, the intent is to provide sorely needed entertainment attractions, shopping, food and beverage, and live/workspaces creating the conditions for a sustainable community. These many uses will be tied together through roads, bridges, light-rail, water taxi, and other transportation
methods within the development site and periodic buses and shuttles to the New Orleans downtown CBD areas. Our vision will draw on both current New Orleans residents and surrounding areas as well as from those who live as far as a 2.5-hour drive from the site. This vision will act as an economic catalyst for the development as a whole to create a prosperous community.

One of the essential goals of our development team is to design and build structures that are LEED certified with water friendly construction methodology. Our Redevelopment Vision for Six Flags/Jazzland will include diverse public and private uses, sustainable design and construction, and performed by DBE/MBE/WBE at the first tier level where possible. We believe in inclusivity which means that local majority firms who share our vision will be used in all areas of professional service, construction, operation and management. The same will be true of the soft cost. All areas of soft cost will include high percentages of DBE/MBE/WBE businesses. As construction proceeds forward, both General Contractors and Sub-Contractors will include high proportions of DBE/MBE/WBE businesses. Most importantly, SDC will seek to build capacity of its DBE/MBE/WBE community
through Joint Venture and Teaming Agreements with local majority firms.

The non-contiguous 65-acre site to the north east of the primary Six Flags/Jazzland site will house essential public and private uses for a sustainable community. A full-service police station and fire station appropriate for this area will be designed and built. SDC envisions entertainment uses including active recreation such as: a Wave Pool, ATV Park, and BMX Bike Park. Most importantly, SDC is promoting light industrial uses be incorporated into the 65-acre site for to support job creation for the New Orleans East area. The development team is reviewing several possibilities including facilities to support sustainable and state-of-the-art manufacturing, as well some unique movie industry facilities that would give New Orleans a competitive edge in securing future film work.

Although the City of New Orleans has control of the two sites shown in the RFQ, our team will make attempts to join the sites in order to make the entire set of uses work smoother as a complete contiguous site plan. The team has explored several ways in which such a connection may happen by use of public corridors without necessarily purchasing additional land, although we do not see that option as unfeasible at this time. Once the Situs Team has been chosen by the City of New Orleans, there will be much more revealed during our presentation to the City.

Upon completion of final market studies, the complete mix of uses will be known with areas to be added in the near future. The selected mix of uses will be considered as will their adjacencies to other uses based on the activities, potential traffic, noise considerations, complementary types. In essence, the development team has created the beginnings of a sustainable community and will continue to further define the needs of New Orleans East as funding comes online. Our current plans will be a catalytic draw to the Greater New Orleans Statistical Metropolitan Area and will easily draw visitors from within a 200 miles distance. The creation of a quality living, working, entertainment, learning, performance, and shopping environment has begun and will continue with the required cooperation.


Narrative & Approach

Approach & Strategy

Our team has taken time to put together an initial visual concept for the comprehensive development of the 162-acre site along with a list of those items to be included in the 65-acre detached site both labeled by the City Planning Commission as IDB owned and City of New Orleans use determined.

The approach taken for the redevelopment of main Six Flags/Jazzland site is to place expected high volume automobile traffic destined for the new development off of the I-510 exit onto the major Lake Forest Blvd entrance to the site. These high-volumes of automobiles will enter the lower end of the site to a public waterpark, an RV park, and big-box retail uses immediately off of Lake Forest Blvd. As you enter the site from either Lake Forest Boulevard or on Michoud Boulevard, the center of the site would be developed to include an outdoor amphitheater, a 3-part performance venue, a hotel, and athletic playing venues. To the upper end of the site, the design team has located single family and multi-family housing in the form of townhouses, single family houses, multi-story
apartment towers, and apartments above retail spaces located on the first level of 5-story buildings surrounding a water taxi and water recreation peninsula. The complex of buildings is serviced by fast in and out automated parking buildings to service the entire community of buildings on the self-sustaining campus of uses.

The concept is visually attractive and is expected to draw from 2.5-hour drive time from the development as a destination. The concept also serves the New Orleans East community and is intended to be a 24-hour active development making it safer for the residents and for visitors alike.

The 65-acre parcel located along I-10 at the intersection of I-10 and I-510 will house active uses such as a Wave Pool, ATV Park and BMX Bike Park. Our team will pay attention to the sounds generated by such uses and their effects on surrounding communities. Our initial thoughts are that the Interstate Highways adjacent to the site generate sound that would be more noise producing than the uses we are anticipating and will modify any affects with baffles or screening to be sensitive to any existing communities that may be affected.

Along with these active uses just mentioned, our programmed plan for the 65-acre site will include job-creating industries to further bolster both New Orleans East’s and the City’s economy. One industry includes a Coatings & Paint Manufacturer, who will upon award to SDC immediately open a sizable Warehousing and Sales facility with the intention of building a sustainable, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility when demand warrants. The SDC team has further identified a gap in the film industry offerings of our State that will make New Orleans more competitive on a National level in this KEY INDUSTRY. The proposed studio will be unique to
our City and State.

A portion of the 65-acre site will become the home of a Full-Service Police Station and Fire Station for the City of New Orleans. We anticipate that these two valuable service components could enter and exit onto Michoud Boulevard and possibly later have direct access to the interstate system for quicker access to other surrounding communities when needed. These city services will be needed more as the Situs Development matures into a community of uses to serve New Orleans
East generally and the Six Flags/Jazzland Development in particular.

Narrative & Approach

Living With Water

Nature inspires character. Opportunities for “living with water” are an essential advantage of the site as a representation of our region’s most fundamental natural asset. The site is located at a critical junction between existing urban development and one of the region’s greatest ecological resources, the Bayou Sauvage
National Wildlife Refuge. The site is part of the New Orleans East drainage system but sits one pump station removed from its urban canal network. This position allows for design innovation around water-centric real estate, but also requires a deep understanding of ecological and water management requirements in this
prominent in-between zone. Development here also has the potential to exemplify all three primary goals of the Resilient New Orleans strategy and advance the implementation goals of the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, both recipients of National Excellence Awards from the American Planning Association.
Water design strategies will address the following themes:

Recreation & Waterfront Development Value

  •  Water is an undervalued asset in New Orleans, and much of the 20th century drainage infrastructure was built to hide and remove water as fast as possible. As the city rediscovers its waterways, showcase examples are needed to demonstrate firsthand the value of living and working alongside them. Unique in the region, the large open water bodies on the Six Flags/Jazzland site are within the hurricane protection system— not affected by storm surge—and offer an opportunity to re-imagine the relationship between buildings, public space, and the water’s edge. Iconic new building types and forms closely integrated with water and the environment can be explored here and can become a model for new practices elsewhere in the city.
  • This is not a typical site in a typical city: development must occur in tandem
    with the restoration and preservation of nature. The site is inherently a link
    and a filter between the city and the urban wetland.

Water Quality

  • Best management practices for pollutant load reduction are especially important on this site given its proximity and interconnection to Bayou Sauvage. Landscape strategies at the site and building scale will take advantage of ecosystem services to protect habitat and native species.

Stormwater Storage

  • The Six Flags/Jazzland site lies at the top of its watershed: that is, water from elsewhere does not flow through it. Living with water development on this site is therefore imperative to relieve drainage pressure on downstream canals, including the outfall of the Village de L’Est community. Existing
    high rates of runoff from paving on the site must be mitigated, possibly through an extension and reinterpretation of New Orleans East’s familiar pattern of lakes and canals. The water assignment for the Six Flags/Jazzland site for a 25-year storm event is approximately 131 acre feet, a significant volume that will drive site planning decisions. Beginning at the pre-schematic stage, planning for appropriate water volumes and flows can reduce the extreme water level fluctuations that burden the drainage
    system in other parts of the city. The Six Flags/Jazzland development can show the way forward and validate the storage-based drainage model proposed in the Urban Water Plan.

Groundwater Management

  • The site is slightly higher in ground elevation than its developed surroundings. It has not subsided at the same rate, likely due to the presence of significant open water in and around the site and lack of
    an urbanized subsurface drainage network. Resilient development should take advantage of this subtle difference in elevation and should commit to slowing further subsidence through effective groundwater management. Such a management regime is possible here given the site’s relative isolation within the drainage system and the ability to control water levels at few discharge locations. We believe the Six Flags/Jazzland site should serve as a demonstration of the forward-thinking water design and management principles stated in the City’s master plan. The eastern gateway to the delta should be anchored by water, our defining element.


Seeded within the depths of our imagination is the ability to create the future with our words , deeds and beliefs!


This hand drawing is the foundation for our vision to redevelop Six Flags / Jazzland . It was penned by Gerald Billes SDC member and founder of Billes Architects.

This Mixed Use Development will become the catalyst for a resurgence in New Orleans East .