By: Andrew Valenti, Reporter CityBusiness
Business leaders and economic experts predict that the recent hotel construction boom in downtown New Orleans will continue in the coming years.
They made their remarks at an annual real estate and economic symposium on Tuesday at Loyola University.
Aside from the usual suspects of Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, conventions and the Sugar Bowl driving demand for hotel rooms, panelists expect other factors to fuel continued growth. Those include the one-year-old, $1.1 billion University Medical Center, $1 billion Veterans Affairs Hospital on track for completion next year and construction of a new 650,000 square-foot North Terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport.
Lenny Wormser, senior managing director of Latter & Blum’s hospitality division, noted the construction of the 182-room Troubadour hotel in the former Rault Center, the Canopy by Hilton hotel in the former Oil & Gas Building on Tulane Avenue and the NOPSI Hotel at the corner of Union and Baronne Streets as new inventory that’s slated to come on the market within the next two years. He estimated there are 25,000 hotel rooms currently downtown, with another 7,000 to come online in the coming years.
Gary Gutierrez, HRI Lodging’s president and chief operating officer, said about half of those 7,000 rooms have either been opened or are under construction.
Wormser said rooms in the proposed $370 million Four Seasons hotel in the former World Trade Center will go for $650 a night after the development opens. He added that the planned 76 condos in the building will sell for $1,215 a square foot.