Kurt Weigle’s seventeen years as President & CEO of the Downtown Development District (DDD) of New Orleans make him the longest tenured leader in the history of America’s first assessment-based business improvement district. Under his direction, the DDD’s focus on quality of life and place-based economic development strategies to retain & attract Industries of the Mind has helped make Downtown the epicenter of New Orleans’ nationally recognized tech growth. The DDD has been instrumental in expanding New Orleans’ biomedical corridor, including major roles in creating the state-of-the-art $1.3 billion University Medical Center in 2015 and $1 billion VA Medical Center in 2017. Under Mr. Weigle’s leadership, the DDD crafted and secured adoption of the Louisiana State Historic Tax Credit in 2005, responsible for spurring more than $2.5 billion of Downtown investment.
Mr. Weigle’s accomplishments span business development, strategic planning, organizational development, public-private finance, infrastructure, neighborhood development, public space management, public safety, and activation/restoration of underutilized green space. Since 2006, Downtown New Orleans has welcomed over $7 billion of private real estate investment, its residential population has more than doubled, and millions have been invested in new and improved streetscapes throughout the DDD and on historically significant Canal Street. Dozens of new retail establishments have opened Downtown, including leading national & international brands such as Neiman Marcus, MAC, True Religion, Tiffany, Nordstrom’s, Louis Vuitton, BCBGMAXAZRIA, G-Star RAW, Allen Edmonds, Starbucks, The Art of Shaving, and Fogo de Chao. In 2019, the DDD constructed Downtown’s first new open space in 30 years, Legacy Park, on a former parking lot and is leading efforts to transform Downtown’s 4.5 acre Duncan Plaza into the catalytic heart of the Charity Neighborhood.
As part of its commitment to improving quality of life for Downtown residents, Mr. Weigle led the DDD in efforts to create New Orleans’ first low barrier accommodations for the homeless, implement assistive outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill, and to launch Make Change NOLA, a text-to-give platform that allows the public to support those in need respectfully and responsibly.
In 2018, Mr. Weigle was recognized by The Times-Picayune as one of New Orleans’ 300 for 300 – celebrating 300 of the city’s most influential citizens over its three centuries. He received the Excellence in Government Award in 2007 from the Bureau of Governmental Research, the 2008 Role Model Award from the Young Leadership Council, and is a graduate of Leadership Louisiana and the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.
Mr. Weigle serves on the boards of the National New Markets Fund, New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, Arts Council of New Orleans, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He is a past director of the International Downtown Association, the Committee for a Better New Orleans, Health Education Authority of Louisiana, the New Orleans Medical Complex, and served as a committee chair for the Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee.
Prior to his tenure at the DDD, Mr. Weigle served as Vice President of New Center Council in Detroit, where he led the development of the New Center Redevelopment Plan, created in response to General Motors’ move from New Center to its new global headquarters at Renaissance Center. The redevelopment plan led to the construction of hundreds of residential units, the TechTown Entrepreneurship Hub, a revitalized New Center Park, and other community amenities.
Mr. Weigle earned his Masters of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.