NEWORLEANS-- The city of New Orleans hopes the fourth time is a charm when it comes to redeveloping the iconic World Trade Center.
The city confirms that in September it will once again issue a Request for Proposals (or RFP) from developers.
However this past week, one government watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research,issued a report saying the city shouldn't bother and instead sell the riverfront property.
The 33-story World Trade Center sits on prime riverfront real estate. Vacant for several years now, its spinning roof-top bar spins no more.
Proposals on what to do with the city-owned property have come and gone, with three failed attempts in recent years.
This past spring plans to transform the building into a W Hotel and riverfront apartments tanked. The last plan was struck down by the city because the developer's final offer on the property 'significantly undervalued' the building.
The development tug-of-war is one Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), has been watching closely.
'There have been three failed attempts to do a transaction through a request for proposals, and we think it is time to try something new,' Howard said.
BGR recently issued a report saying the city of New Orleans should relinquish ownership of the World Trade Center by putting it on the market. Howard and her team believe there are major advantages to selling it.
'It is a more transparent process. The price is divided by objective factors rather than subjective factors. I think there's also an issue of credibility surrounding the World Trade Center,' Howard said.
In response to the BGR report, the city's Director of Communications Garnesha Crawford issued this statement: 'A request for proposals for the redevelopment of #2 Canal Street will be issued in September. Based on past experiences and the greatly improved national and local economy, the New Orleans Building Corporation is preparing an improved RFP process to maximize the potential this property represents. This property is located in a critical area, at the heart of the Riverfront, and we are committed to getting the best deal for the taxpayers.'
The future of the Crescent City's World Trade Center site remains a precarious one with some people wanting the1960's era building preserved, while others would like to see it go making way for the new.
The city says it is looking at a potential 99-year lease term on the building. No word on when in September new proposals for redevelopment will start being accepted.