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Mayor Cantrell demands Superdome Commission pay up

State not paying to use of city portion of Champions Square

Champions Square, in the shadow of the Mercedes Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center, has evolved into a popular place for concerts and festivals.

LaSalle Street, owned by the City makes up a portion of the venue.

The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) also referred to as the Superdome Commission manages the sprawling downtown sports complex for the state.

It took over a block-long stretch of LaSalle without compensating the city.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell sent a letter to the commission demanding nearly $3.6 million in back rent, plus more than $488,000 in yearly lease payments.

City Councilman Jay Banks, who's district includes Champions Square said it's time for the state to pay up.

"It used to be a street and it's city property and the state law says that the city should receive fair compensation," Banks said. 

"We appreciate the Mayor's willingness to reach a conclusion on LaSalle Street," the LSED said in a statement. "However, we disagree with the City's valuation of the property, and in turn, the proposed annual lease proposal."

A couple of years ago, the city estimated the value of that stretch of LaSalle Street to be $3.3 million. The Superdome Commission hired its own appraiser that came back with a number much lower then that. 

According to the LSED statement, "The LSED looks forward to working with the City/Mayor Cantrell to establish a fair value so as to continue to allow citizens and Saints fans access to Champions Square with a conclusion that is acceptable to all parties."

Jay Banks maintains the clock is ticking and it's time for all parties to come together and work out a long term deal.

"At the end of the day the people I represent should be getting every nickel that they're due," Banks said.

A Legislative Auditor's report, released this week indicates the LSED received more than $53 million in hotel tax revenue last year.

According to the audit, that's the highest annual collections the district has ever received.

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