NEW ORLEANS – The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (“Authority”), the governing body of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, has learned that the New Orleans City Council will consider a resolution that encourages the Authority to reconsider its plans to develop a new headquarters hotel and mixed use development, along with other related matters. Exhibition Hall Authority Chair Walt Leger III has released the following statement regarding the proposed resolution:
“I appreciate the City Council’s support of our decision to pause the upriver developments, and its commitment to working together to rebuild our hospitality economy. The Convention Center exists to support the people of Louisiana and New Orleans by creating jobs, generating taxes, and stimulating economic development. Stimulating the economic activity necessary to support our workforce and create demand for hospitality jobs at businesses across our region is a critical function. Whether it’s through emergency response activities like serving as an interim medical facility, hosting future events, or generating new investment and economic activity through an upriver development of vacant land, we’re committed to engaging City leaders to create the greatest impact possible,” said Walt Leger III, Chairman of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority.
At its last board meeting in April, the Authority committed to pause its consideration of both the proposed headquarters hotel and future development of an upriver parcel while the Convention Center continues its critical health and safety role in supporting the State’s efforts to combat Covid-19 by being converted to a Medical Monitoring Station. At that meeting, Authority Board members discussed the standing practice for the Authority’s decisions regarding the hotel to be guided by an independent national hotel market study conducted by subject matter experts. Three qualified developers have submitted responsive proposals for the upriver development, which would be separate from the proposed hotel. The process for reviewing those proposals has also been suspended at this time. The Authority also expressed its support of the current policy to ensure that the close to 500 employees of the Convention Center receive full pay and benefits during the ongoing response to the pandemic.