Construction has begun on the $65 million transformation of Convention Center Boulevard, stretching from Poydras Street upriver to Henderson Street. The project, approved in May 2015 by the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (Authority), the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, will connect the expansive Warehouse/Arts District with the Central Business District and historic French Quarter improving the out-of-town guest experience for visitors while creating new outdoor attractions for residents.
These improvements are part of a comprehensive plan, known as the Convention Center District Development, that will generate significant economic impact and new taxes with a 1,200 room Convention Center headquarters hotel. The hotel will be surrounded with a 39-acre mixed-use project on an adjacent tract owned by the Authority. This plan will result in significant visual, functional and safety improvements to the area around the Convention Center.
“This is a tremendous project for the Authority to transform Convention Center Boulevard into an oasis for all Convention Center guests, said Michael Sawaya, President/General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “It is vital that the Convention Center remains competitive with rival cities of similar caliber and stature. The Convention Center attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year through the events it host but also through its own special programs and events such as Farm and Table New Orleans, NOLA Christmas Fest, and RES/CON International.”
Plans for the Pedestrian Park and street improvements are the result of several extensive traffic studies that took into consideration the needs of event attendees, cruise ship passengers, warehouse district residents and businesses, commuters to the CBD and port freight traffic. The project, which will be funded entirely by the Authority with no funds needed from the City or State, aims to improve outdated traffic patterns in the Warehouse District, in addition to providing safer and new experiences for persons visiting or living in the area.
Key design elements of the pedestrian park include a tree-lined pedestrian promenade, covered terraces, outdoor event spaces, interactive water features, green walls, shaded communal gathering areas, public art, and improvements to roads and intersections on shuttle routes within the Warehouse District. Shuttles, taxis and ride shares will operate in a new Transportation Center being developed at the foot of Calliope Streets.
The Pedestrian Park Project is expected to be complete by January 2021.
About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features an award winning staff and first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A consistent Top 10 host of the largest conventions and tradeshows in the nation annually, the Convention Center is also one of the city’s “Top Workplaces.” A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $81.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.
About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 12-member board of commissioners, nine appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $81.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.