Land Use

City unveils competing proposals to redevelop World Trade Center site

Monday afternoon, New Orleans city officials released three proposals to redevelop the World Trade Center site.

The Lens revealed details of one of those proposals last week: A group called the Tricentennial Consortium, made up of major players in the city’s hospitality industry, has proposed creating an iconic sculpture on the site as part of a massive riverfront redevelopment.

The documents released Monday offer more information on that proposal and two others.

W Hotel, apartments and “TriCentennial Sky Wheel”

In this $190 million project, Gatehouse Capital would build a 245-room W Hotel to replace the current W Hotel on Poydras Street. The company would use the upper floors for residential apartments. The company proposes a $30 million “Sky Wheel,” similar to the Seattle Great Wheel, on the edge of the river.

Luxury hotel, plaza and return of the World Trade Center

In this proposal from James H. Burch LLC, most of the building would be converted into a 550-room luxury hotel, the World Trade Center would return to the site, and four floors would house consulates from nations around the world.

The bottom three floors would be transformed into an open-air “World Plaza,” with shops, music venues and a glass-enclosed studio kitchen for celebrity chefs. A “monument film” would be viewable on a shaded patio:

On the street side of the extended plaza, in a stand-alone setting, a large LED video screen will be within a glass elevated presentation structure, facing up Canal Street, with a continuous-loop video showing of people interacting, laced with scenes of the history of New Orleans, the fire and beauty, the adventure and bravery, the mixture of peoples and love of life, people smiling and acting neighborly. The final video screen, before re-looping, would state “Our Center is our Heart.”

“Tricentennial Tower”

In this proposal, the World Trade Center would be demolished and “Tricentennial Tower” would be erected in its place. This proposal from the Tricentennial Consortium describes an observation deck, a ticketed ride and a “National Wetlands Center.”

This Center, developed and operated by the Audubon Institute, would be a Disney-quality environmental education center, telling the story of America’s wetlands, their bountiful past, fragile present and rejuvenated future. The narrative would be presented in compelling and memorable exhibit techniques, which will culminate in a panoramic “spiral ride” ascending to the tower’s crown. The crown will feature a 360-degree observation deck, placing the shimmering water of the surrounding wetlands, as well as our 300-year old city, in direct view.

WVUE report on three proposals includes interviews with key players

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About Steve Myers

Steve Myers is editor of The Lens. Before joining the staff in 2012, Myers was managing editor of Poynter Online, the preeminent source of news and training about the journalism industry. At Poynter, he wrote about emerging media practices such as citizen journalism, nonprofit news sites, real-time reporting via social media, data-oriented news apps, iPhoneography, and the fact-checking movement. Six of his 10 years in newspapers were spent as a local government reporter in Mobile, Ala., where he focused on local government accountability, from jail management to hurricane preparation and response. He can be reached at (504) 298-9750.

  • Guest

    To add one more detail to the W proposal; their property on Poydras Street is going to be upgraded to a Le Meridien. Here is the exterior rendering, where you can see the Le Meridien brand.

  • I note that the Tricentennial 300 Commission found my suggestion of a crescent design worthy of the cover of their presentation packet but not worthy of incorporation into the design of the actual structure itself. C’mon, folks, its THE CRESCENT CITY, right? Hmmmpf.

  • Bring back the WTC, no question. Especially considering the rate of growth NOLA is experiencing, it’s important to open our doors to consulates around the world to draw more business and more investment into our city. NOLA has plenty expressions of individuality and tourist attractions; this makes our city loveable and a must-see destination. NOLA’s individuality and attractiveness would not be affected, in fact may be improved, by rebuilding the WTC; it’s important that we draw world-wide attention not only to attract investment, but also to attract talent.

  • Guest

    Who are the represemtatives from the four organizations that comprise the tri-centennial consortium?

  • KC King

    Swooping glass and abstract spires have no connection to what makes New Orleans great – it’s HERITAGE. What is that heritage? It’s New Orleans as a world class port and a world class sailor town.

    What is our future? A world class cargo and passenger port and a world class “sailor town” experience. None of these designs advance that formula for success. Nobody comes to New Orleans to be wowed by modern architecture – nobody.

    If a focused is needed, let it be a 19th century blue water, full rigged sailing ship. Such a celebration of the best of our heritage would be a fitting icon. It would also build on the successes of other ports such as New York, Baltimore, San Francisco and Galveston.

    I don’t know if any readers have been at the waterfront when the Opsail tall ships are in port. Residents and tourists stand in line for hours to go on board. Seeing all those tall ships in port really rings the NO heritage bell.

    A tall ship focus would provide an opportunity for educational programs. square rigger traing vessels have proven allure to inner city youth and residents that teaches responsibility, work ethics and a host of other desire able qualities.