This is a past Pitch NOLA opportunity

PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress

A pitch competition in partnership between Propeller and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and sponsored by Entergy.

Thousands of untapped resources lay empty across New Orleans. We want your ideas for turning vacant land into viable commercial opportunities.

15 properties available for development. $7,500 on the line. Help activate the cityscape.

Finalists will pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges and a live audience on August 19, 2014.

PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress is a live pitch competition designed to generate community interest in the activation of vacant lots. NORA and Propeller are seeking Requests for Proposals (“RFP”) from qualified entities and individuals interested in leasing or purchasing property(ies) with the goal of community-based economic development and commercial retail programming.

The competition features $7,500 in total cash prizes, technical assistance from Propeller, and the opportunity to lease and/or purchase one or more properties from a list of fifteen vacant, non-residential lots.

We’re seeking innovative ideas that are sustainable, scalable and replicable and which can be executed within 18 months of the lease and/or purchase date.

Although we do not endorse any specific proposals, possible ideas include: pop-up restaurants and retail, outdoor fitness centers, pocket parks and placemaking initiatives, urban farms, permanent structures, etc. All proposals are subject to zoning and permitting requirements. Before submitting your RFP, please ensure your idea falls within the allowable uses of your requested property(ies).

Please Note: Submissions for residential development are NOT eligible.

Access the RFP & List of Properties and Values

Download the RFP — includes competition details, application requirements, property locations, information and photos.

Download the RFP addendum No. 1 — includes a complete list of prices for the 15 properties and responses to questions posed at the first Q&A session.

The RFP and addendum can also be accessed on Nora’s website by clicking here.


  • Entrepreneurs able to design, implement and manage the activation of a vacant lot(s) from a select pool of properties are eligible. This includes individuals, non-profits, and for-profit developers.

  • Proposals must demonstrate an economic development component, including but not limited to, new commercial activity, retail diversification, job creation and placemaking. Proposals for housing development will automatically be disqualified.

  • The redevelopment of awarded properties must commence within 3 months of lease and/or purchase and achieve operational independence after 18 months of lease and/or purchase.

  • Proposals must provide documentation that the proposed economic activity is in line with local community interests (conversations, letters of support, participation in community meetings, etc.)

  • All submissions should include a detailed description and justification of the proposed programming along with a site plan, project timeline, business plan, zoning verification letter and marketing strategy.


Attend one or more of the three informational sessions

Highly encouraged, but not required. See dates below.

Print and complete the Request For Proposal (RFP)

All materials requested in the RFP must be received by NORA no later than Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:00pm (CST) directed to the attention of: Kirsty Sclafini, Contract Compliance Specialist, 1409 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70113, (504) 658-4400, Applicants must use Adobe Reader to complete the application electronically. Exhibits must be completed using Microsoft Excel. Once completed, applicants will submit a hard copy of the entire application to NORA.


Applications will be evaluated by NORA and Propeller staff based on the following criteria, listed in order of priority:

Project Viability (50 points)
Community Impact (20 points)
Experience (25 points)
Diversity and Capacity Building Program (5 points) — Plan for the utilization of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)

When considering projects NORA and Propeller’s preferences will align with:

  1. Projects with a detailed description of economic development, commercial or placemaking programming
  2. Projects with a justification of lot selection and intended programmatic uses (e.g. – market research)
  3. Projects with a developed site plan and verification of required approvals (e.g. – zoning verification letter)
  4. Projects with a high quality of respondent’s management capacity, reputation and references
  5. Projects that are ready to commence within 3 months of lease and/or purchase execution and completed with 18 months of lease and/or purchase;
  6. Projects with financial feasibility including the submission of a business plan identifying funding sources (e.g. Letter of Agreement)

Proposals for the same lot(s) will be compared against each other. In other words, NORA and Propeller will compare proposals for a lot(s) with shared interests based on the lot(s) itself and the overall activation strategy, scale and budget.

For more details on the judging criteria, please download the RFP below.


NORA, through the RFP, will lease and/or sell properties to top scoring respondents in a 2-round selection process:

1. Submission of a Program Application, RFP by Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:00pm; respondents shall propose an economic development activation strategy for up to no more than 5 vacant lots from the list of 15 available properties.

2. Selected finalists will participate in PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress, a live pitch competition on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at Propeller.


The maximum grant amount per applicant is $7,500.00 and the minimum grant amount is $500.00. These will be awarded by Propeller at its sole discretion.

Awards from Propeller will generally be made as grant funding to be used for lease or as a deposit for purchase of a NORA property. Recipients of grant funding will be required to submit at minimum 6-month and 12-month progress reports.

Audience Participation

Attend PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress by registering online at

A suggested $5 donation helps fund the award for audience favorite.

Key Dates

  • Thursday, May 29, 2014, 3:00pm-4:00pm

    Competition Overview and Q&A. At NORA (1409 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, 4th Floor)

  • Tuesday, July 1, 4:00pm-6:00pm

    Q&A with City Representatives— Informational session with city representatives about zoning restrictions, availability of water, insurance coverage and the like. At Propeller (4035 Washington Ave.)

  • Monday, July 7, 11:00am-1:00pm

    Final informational session with staff from NORA and Propeller. At NORA (1409 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, 4th Floor).

  • Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:00pm (CST)

    Deadline to submit RFP to NORA

  • Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

    Pitch Workshop (required for selected second round applicants)

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 7:00pm-9:00pm; Doors open at 6:00pm

    PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress at Propeller (4035 Washington Ave.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible Properties

Applicants may select no more than 5 of the 10 available properties from those listed in Appendix A of the RFP.

Purchase Price

Generally, the purchase price for NORA properties listed in Appendix A will be for fair market value determined pursuant to appraisals obtained by NORA; however, in some cases discounts of the purchase price down to ten percent (10%) of the fair market value may be granted or $1345 whichever is greater. The difference between fair market value at the time of closing with developer and any discount will be payable in the event the specified conditions for the discount are not met.

Lease, Act of Sale, Loan and Disposition Agreements

If an applicant is selected, the parties shall enter into a lease or purchase agreement for the awarded properties based on the standard NORA form, a draft of which may be reviewed ahead of time upon request. Those applicants that also receive grant monies from Propeller will enter into a standard agreement. All requisite agreements must be executed within fifteen (15) calendar days after delivery, or NORA/ Propeller may elect to cancel the award. If the purchase price is reduced or the applicant utilizes a Propeller grant, the purchase/lease agreement will restrict the sale of the property for five years.

Closing Costs

The selected applicants will be responsible for all customary closing costs associated with closing, including without limitation, all recordation and closing costs, financing expenses, survey, notarial fees for passing the Act of Sale, title insurance and/or examination and all fees and costs of services related to any financing. Taxes will be prorated from the date of closing. Grant funding may be used for these expenses.

Use of Eligible Funds

Funding is available for property purchase and hard costs of construction/project development as approved by NORA and Propeller. Funding will not be available for refinancing of existing debt, payment of any tax arrearages, governmental fines or penalties, buying out any stockholder or equity holder in a business, the purchase of instruments or investments for the sole purpose of a return on investment or any other use determined to be ineligible by NORA/Propeller.

Cost of Preparing Submission

Costs associated with developing the proposal, preparing for oral presentations, and any other expenses incurred by the applicant in connection with this application are entirely the responsibility of the applicant and shall not be reimbursed in any manner by NORA/PROPELLER.