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November 202329

River District Neighborhood Investors, Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority break ground on vibrant mixed-use neighborhood along the Mississippi River

The River District promises more than $1 billion in economic activity, infrastructure improvements

Local business leaders and representatives from the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, New Orleans and Louisiana State Governments, and River District Neighborhood Investors Break Ground on the Historic River District Development during a ceremony on November 29th.

 

NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 29, 2023) – River District Neighborhood Investors, LLC (RDNI) and the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority broke ground today on New Orleans’ newest mixed-use neighborhood located on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Joined by anchor commercial tenant Shell Gulf of Mexico Operations, Louisiana Governor-elect Jeff Landry, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Councilwoman Lesli Harris and Topgolf, the action was celebrated as an opportunity to transform one of New Orleans’ last pieces of vacant riverfront land into a hub of commerce, trade and culture.

“Today we are delighted to announce that New Orleans is rising at the River District,” said Louis Lauricella, co-managing member of RDNI. “The result of a bold vision and three years of intentional planning, the River District reflects the time-honored New Orleans connection points of resiliency and inclusiveness and will serve as a national model of how neighborhoods can be responsibly built.”

Expected to generate $43 million of net new annual tax revenues and more than $1 billion in economic activity, the River District promises a new neighborhood designed to be sustainable and integrated with the surrounding area. The neighborhood will include condominiums and apartments, retail space, hotels, restaurants, sports and entertainment and other amenities.

“With today’s groundbreaking, our shared vision for a vibrant new neighborhood adjacent to the Convention Center is coming into sharp focus,” said Jerry Reyes, Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority President. “Building on this rare piece of undeveloped New Orleans riverfront land is a momentous project, and we are thrilled to play a role creating what will be a transformative asset for the New Orleans region and the state of Louisiana.”

“Today marks more than just a groundbreaking for a mixed-use development; it represents a transformative moment for our city,’ said Michael Sawaya, president and CEO of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.  “This visionary project will shape the very fabric of our community, bringing together diverse elements that will forever change the way we live, work, and thrive.

“As the first shovel hits the ground, so does our determination to create a future that is vibrant, inclusive, and limitless in its possibilities. Together, we build not just buildings, but a legacy of progress that will inspire New Orleans for generations to come,” Sawaya concluded.

In the coming months, the project is expected to generate more exciting announcements of partnerships with organizations sharing the bold and inclusive vision of its developers. Plans already include district-wide stormwater management; a large, centrally located park; a resilient power grid utilizing Mississippi River water; next-generation digital infrastructure and green spaces.

Developers have also pledged a total of 900 mixed-income housing units, of which 450 will be affordable and workforce housing.

Earlier this year, Shell announced it will bring its Gulf of Mexico operations headquarters to a new cutting-edge 142,000 square-foot multi-floor office building in the heart of the emerging River District neighborhood, the first Class A office building to be constructed in New Orleans since 1989.

“Our Gulf of Mexico Operations were born here in Louisiana 45 years ago, and this move allows us to be as vital to the City’s vibrant future as we have been foundational to its past,” said Colette Hirstius, Shell’s senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico.  “As the global demand for energy continues to grow, lower carbon oil and gas like that produced in the Gulf of Mexico will remain critical in ensuring a balanced energy transition. Moving to this new modern, fit-for-purpose office will help us to maximize our performance in a cost-effective way, so that we can help to meet the energy needs of today, tomorrow and for decades to come.”

Topgolf will commence construction soon as an anchor entertainment venue on Tchoupitoulas Street.

“Breaking ground on the dynamic River District project is an exciting milestone for the New Orleans community and a big step toward bringing Topgolf to the city,” said Topgolf Chief Development Officer Chris Callaway. “We look forward to bringing even more play to this lively community and are honored to be selected as the entertainment anchor for the new River District development.”

Construction projects in the neighborhood will kick off after 15 to 18 months of crucial infrastructure work, which includes new roads and sewer and utility lines. The infrastructure work sets the stage for traffic improvements and a transportation system that will feature bus rapid transit, rideshare, taxi drop-off and pick-up locations in addition to ample space for pedestrians and cyclists.

“The River District signifies an enormous opportunity to infuse economic possibilities and a range of uses into a dynamic and sustainably constructed community,” said New Orleans Councilwoman Lesli Harris, whose Council District B includes the River District. “I appreciate the developers’ commitment to shaping a vision for a neighborhood that will include infrastructure improvements as well as affordable and workforce housing, so people can live near where they work.”

Construction projects in the neighborhood will kick off after 15 to 18 months of crucial infrastructure work, which includes new roads and sewer and utility lines. The infrastructure work sets the stage for traffic improvements and a transportation system that will feature bus rapid transit, rideshare, taxi drop-off and pick-up locations in addition to ample space for pedestrians and cyclists.

“The catalytic River District project will undoubtedly be a new economic development engine for the city and region that will create and retain thousands of new jobs, grow our tax base and diversify our economy, said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. It will also create a new neighborhood out of previously vacant land with hundreds of units of new affordable and workforce housing, new public transit connections and retail, entertainment and open space amenities. The City has been and will continue to be a key partner in shaping this project, and I am confident that the River District will be a place that we can all be proud to live, work and play in for generations to come.”

Editor’s note: Please click here for neighborhood renderings attributed to Gensler and the Topgolf image attributed to Aria Group architects.

 

About River District Neighborhood Investors LLC (RDNI)

River District Neighborhood Investors is a diverse group of partners with deep local roots, all accomplished mixed-use and residential developers with local, regional, and national experience, unparalleled reputations, and strong financial results. The team was selected in 2021 by the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center Authority to develop a mixed-use community with best-in-class sidewalks, bike paths, and green spaces. The River District will revitalize this 40+ acre tract of vacant land along the riverfront as an energetic hub of commerce, trade, culture, history, and community. For information visit www.riverdistrictnola.com.

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.

 About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC)

New Orleans is Built to Host! With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space on one level, all under one roof, NOENMCC is the sixth largest Convention Center in the United States and provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. NOENMCC is a 2023 IAVM Venue Excellence recipient and is consistently named a regional top workplace by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Our recent LEED Gold certification makes NOENMCC the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana and the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance, as well as the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under LEED Gold v4.1 O+M. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, NOENMCC event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening.

 

 

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