US$1 billion riverfront project developer selected, New Orleans

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Developers have been selected for the US$1 billion riverfront entertainment project in New Orleans, a 39-acre site where 2.4 million sq ft of mixed-use space will be developed in two stages. River District Neighborhood Investors LLC has been chosen to design and build the entertainment district, upriver from the Crescent City Connection bridge. Construction has been estimated to take four years and will begin in 2022, with some components reaching completion as early as 2023. The project is estimated to provide 9,000 construction jobs, and 5,900 permanent jobs once fully developed, according to Lauricella.

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The project includes new dining, entertainment, retail, hotel, and housing options, as well as experiential entertainment offerings like rock climbing. The project will also include a 750,000 square-foot corporate campus geared toward attracting tech companies interested in relocating to New Orleans, River District said in its proposal. Further plans include 1,100 new market-rate residential units, 450 workforce and affordable housing units, 27%African American equity ownership, 18% women equity ownership, 30% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participation. In the River District proposal, the team said that it was inspired by The Wharf project in Washington, D.C.

The development will take place in two phases, the first of which will begin with road and infrastructure improvements funded by the Convention Center’s governing authority. The 875,000 square-foot first phase will also include the construction of all roads and sidewalks, plus an 85,000 square-foot entertainment venue, a 40,000 square-foot cultural museum, 95,000 sq ft of retail, a 150-room boutique hotel, and a possible 150-room teaching hotel. The project’s first 100 days will include site planning, preliminary civil engineering design, pre-construction estimating, elevations, architectural design, and rezoning. The developer estimates the first phase of construction will take 18 to 24 months, with completed components opening in fall 2023. The development is the latest piece of a five-year, $557-million expansion plan approved in 2018 for the Convention Center.