Robert Morris / Uptown Messenger
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is on the cusp of returning to a major expansion with a new hotel and exhibit hall on long-vacant land in the Lower Garden District, officials said Wednesday morning.
A bill is pending before the state legislature this session that would allow the expansion to begin, making use of vacant land the convention center owns along Tchoupitoulas nearly all the way to the abandoned Market Street Power Plant, convention center president Melvin Rodrigue told the Bureau of Governmental Research.
“We want to put it into commerce,” Rodrigue said. “We want to get it as an attraction for the city of New Orleans.”
Officials are confident about the passage of the funding bill, Rodrigue said, and have already prepared a request for proposals to developers to build the project as a public-private partnership. Many of the details of the project will be worked out during that phase, and depending on the size of the new hotel, the total project could become as much as a $1 billion investment, he said.
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