New Orleans downtown development shows healthy growth
Don Ames Reporting
A lot of construction cranes are hovering over downtown New Orleans.
A number of apartment, condominium, hotel and restaurant projects are in development or soon to begin construction.
The largest of the projects combines all of the above.
"Right now, there are two high-rises under construction across from the Plaza Towers, part of a four-square block area under development for apartments, condominiums and retail," says local real estate consultant Wade Ragas.
Construction for another mixed-use project at one of downtown's busiest intersections is nearing completion. Dave & Buster's plans to open its new Central Business District location in May at the corner of Poydras Street and Loyola Avenue. The 40,000-square-foot restaurant and arcade is part of a six-story development that also includes a parking garage and street-level retail.
Ragas says the demand for housing in the CBD and Warehouse District continues to drive projects.
"There are at least seven five-story or higher condominium properties in development right now in downtown New Orleans."
Those include the 1100 Annunciation project, a 16-story luxury condo tower with 90 residences at Annunciation and Calliope Street in the Warehouse District.
And, the increasing need for temporary housing is also being met. "There are a couple of thousand hotel rooms being developed in and around downtown New Orleans...over two thousand rooms in development," says Ragas.
Also, though delayed by legal battle, a major conversion project will eventually get underway at the foot of Canal Street.
"There's not a crane on it yet, but there soon will be at the World Trade Center as it gets to move forward with construction," Ragas says.
Plans are to turn the vacant 33-story riverfront tower into a Four Seasons Hotel with 350 guest rooms and 76 condominiums, plus a restaurant, spa, pool and other amenities.
Ragas says all the construction activity is normal and a sign of the area's health.
"It's what a normal growth market almost always has...some new construction going on," says Ragas. "If a market has growth, and this market does, it's normal for there to be conversions from older uses to new ones or new construction."