City releases details of three plans for redeveloping WTC site

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 11:09 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Monday, the mayor's office released details of the three proposals now on the table to redevelop the World Trade Center site in New Orleans.

Two of the ideas, backed by private dollars, would reuse the now-shuttered, 33-story landmark as the catalyst for a re-imagined riverfront.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said in the past that if it were up to him, he would tear down the building and repurpose the two-acre site as a gateway to the river.

A proposal by Gate House Capital out of Dallas would renovate the WTC as a mixed-use hotel and condominium development.

"Our plan specifically is not just another typical hotel," said the local developer on the project David Garcia. "It's a new destination attraction that would be a new flagship modern W Hotel."

Garcia says Gate House has already lined up $190 million to redo the trade center.

The proposal also includes a new five-story addition on the south end of the building with a rooftop deck and ballroom.

The plan also calls for a huge ferris wheel dubbed the Tri-Centennial Sky Wheel.

"Built on the edge of the river, which would be similar to the one in Seattle, which is somewhat similar to London Eye," said Garcia. "It would attract 100 of thousands, if not a million visitors to the riverfront."

A proposal by James Burch, LLC out of Virginia calls for a 550-room hotel, plus office and retail space. The bottom three floors of the building would be a walk through to a new world plaza on the river.

"Through tiering, we're going to have people be able to get over to waterfront and enliven that waterfront and we're going to have anchors and businesses, local businesses in that area that will enrich and entertain and attract people," said Jim Burch.

The Burch plan also calls for a glass monument to the people of New Orleans and offices dedicated to world trade.

"We're going to have four floors we're going to call 'Eyes on the World,'" said Burch. "Visitors to New Orleans can now walk through and get a feel for the flavor of the world."

Both developers say they would be willing to work with the city and local hospitality industry to fine-tune their projects.

The third proposal, backed by the hospitality industry calls for the World Trade Center to be torn down and the site redeveloped along with expansion and improvements to the nearby Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

 

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