A plan to redevelop the vacant World Trade Center building in New Orleans into a luxury hotel cleared a key hurdle recently when the City Council approved a plan to lease the property to a group of Four Seasons hotel developers, NOLA.com reports.
The plan calls for a $364 million renovation, turning the building into a 350-room, 76-condo Four Seasons hotel. Construction is set to begin this fall, with a grand opening scheduled for December 2017.
The property will also include an interactive cultural attraction and observation deck on the 31st and 33rd floors, dubbed "New Orleans: History at the Confluence of Cultures." The exhibit will be curated and narrated by Henry Louis Gates, director of Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. Tulane University history professor Lawrence Powell will provide additional guidance.
The plan will also add two new buildings to the northeast and southeast corners of the tower. The southeast building will have new parking spots, and the northeast building will have a ballroom, meeting rooms and a restaurant.
A selection committee appointed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu selected the Four Seasons proposal out of a group of five finalists, which also included plans for a Hilton-brand Conrad hotel, a Starwood Luxury Collection Crescent Hotel, a Godfrey Hotel and a Hotel Alessandra. The new project is the latest in a series of attempts to redevelop the 1960s-era World Trade Center building stretching back to the 1990s.