Renovation Report: J.W. Marriott adds Brazilian steakhouse

Posted on: January 8 2016

By: Lance Traweek CityBusiness

Project description: The J.W. Marriott is adding a Brazilian steakhouse as part of a planned renovation of the hotel’s three-story building fronting Canal Street.

Rendering Courtesy  Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.

Rendering Courtesy Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.

Location: 614 Canal St., New Orleans

Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Contractor: Ryan Gootee General Contractors

Space: 12,700 square feet

Renovation cost: Part of an overall $6.7 million renovation

Construction start: July 2015

Completion Date: December 2015

The J.W. Marriott’s new restaurant tenant, Fogo de Chão, opened today as part of a planned renovation of the hotel’s three-story building fronting Canal Street.

The Brazilian steakhouse occupies the first and second floor restaurant space that was once home to Canal Street Grill and Shula’s Steakhouse. The downtown location is the first in the state for the restaurant chain, which first opened in Brazil in 1979 and later expanded to the U.S. in 1996. The company is now based in Dallas.

New balconies were added on the second and third floors to create a strong connection with the sidewalk and street, according to the architect. The former existing hotel restaurant was too small with a limited presence on Canal Street.

New architectural elements such as a hostess station with screen wall, ornamental stair and main bar were discreetly placed to create an intuitive entry experience for patrons. Many of the interior finishes and patterns were inspired by the Brazilian gaucho “cowboy.”

Mark Hash, project architect, said the construction type for the building is post-tensioned concrete, which was very popular in the 1980s.

“Typically this was done to achieve a shorter floor-to-floor height,” Hash said. “For the design team, this made it challenging to achieve the desired clearances for a contemporary restaurant. We had to get very creative with the ceiling details in order to achieve a dramatic and voluminous space.”

As far as historical aspects, the building was constructed in the 1980s during the postmodernist movement.

“So, the building itself has less historical value than the surrounding context along Canal Street,” he said. “For us, it was important to engage the street and sidewalk while respecting the scale and texture of Canal Street.”

The solution was to realign and maximize the openings, hang continuous balconies and install a delicate guardrail system which touches on the rich filigree found in and around the nearby French Quarter.

The restaurant addition is part of a $6.7 million renovation at the J.W. Marriott that includes a completely redesigned front façade at 614 Canal St.