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City officials, developers and investors broke ground Wednesday on a $460 million project to turn the former World Trade Center tower at the foot of Canal Street into a Four Seasons Hotel and Residences.
The redevelopment by developer Carpenter & Co. is estimated to create 1,600 construction jobs, 450 permanent full-time jobs from the hotel and $10 million annually in hotel and property taxes.
The project will affect a streetcar route along the riverfront. Service at the Poydras Street and Julia Street stations will be suspended beginning May 14 for approximately 18 to 24 months for safety reasons.
When complete, the tower will have 300 guest rooms, 80 hotel condos, a restaurant, rooftop pool, spa and 28,000 square feet of meeting space into the 33-story tower. Boston-based CambridgeSeven is the lead architect.
The work will take about two years to complete. The signature restaurant at the top of the tower is set to become a sightseeing attraction, “a celebration of African American culture in Louisiana—the music, the food and the traditions,” according to the developer’s website.
Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony followed three years of legal challenges to the project.
Stuart “Neil” Fisher, a Florida real estate investor and the owner of a company called Two Canal Street Investors, went to court claiming that the city’s bid selection process was faulty—an assertion effectively rejected by an Orleans Civil District judge after neither Fisher nor his attorney showed up for the trial.
The Louisiana Supreme Court last year refused to hear Fisher’s appeal.