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Ferris Wheel Axed; Demo Still An Option - WTC Meeting Recap

The fate of the former World Trade Center Building is still up in the air after yesterday's meeting. The three wanna-be developers presented their cases to the deciding panel (a stoic bunch, we hear) and the floor opened to the public (all ten of 'em anti-demo, by the way). The city-owned, vacant building has been a topic of hot contention for months and the battle for the riverside real estate continues. The selection committee will meet again around August 14 to make a final decision. The top dog will then move on to hash things out with the New Orleans Building Corp.

Tricentennial wants to demolish the WTC building and replace it with green space and some sort of "iconic structure."
· Stuck to their pro-demo plans, despite talk that they might be "willing to leave the building" in order to stay in the running.
· Said the site is "too valuable" for a hotel or residences and it should be a public space.
· Their "iconic structure" plans (think St. Louis' Arch) would allow for public input (whew!).
· According to Times Picayune reporter, Rich Webster, who live-tweeted the event, er, meeting, Tricentennial said the "base of Canal is an urban design mess."
· Because the initial request for proposals said the plans "should" be privately financed and not "must," the tourism leader-based group from around the city can use $25M from the Convention Center.

James H. Burch, LLC wants to transform the space into a luxury hotel and residences with office and retail space, plus a slew of music clubs and touristy attractions.
· After some criticism involving Burch's follow-through on projects, he has a couple lead developers steering the ship and doing the talking.
· The proposed Valencia Hotel: "Hip enough to attract Gen X and Y but not too hip so as to scare away baby boomers. It's medium hip," Webster tweeted.
· Dorian Bennett, New Orleans' real estate mogul, would be in charge of leasing out the luxury residences, says he already has deposits for 49 of the apartments and 2 of the penthouses.
· Wouldn't use any city incentives and would pay up to $388M over the 99-year lease.

Gatehouse, Corp. wants to turn the building into a W Hotel and apartments:
· Scrapped the ferris wheel overlooking the river, calling it a "bad plan."
· Says they don't need city incentives and call themselves "most reputable," Webster wrote.
· Would offer a $10M lease payment but may consider giving the city a "continuing share of revenue," although no numbers were discussed.
· Former World Trade Center Building's Future No Clearer After 3-hour Committee Hearing []
· 3 Visions For 2 Canal Street []
· All WTC Coverage [Curbed NOLA]

World Trade Center

365 Canal St Ste 1120, New Orleans, LA 70130