The fate of a proposed 21-story Marriott Residence Inn and Springhill Suites—and the four historic buildings that would meet the wrecking ball in the process—is in the hands of City Council. Plans for the $120 million development, which would take over a corner of Canal and Tchoupitoulas Streets, didn't go over well with the Architectural Review Committee back in March and it was no surprise when the CBD Historic District Landmarks Commission didn't give the thumbs-up for the demo request concerning four historic Central Business District structures. The team behind the hotel plans—French Quarter t-shirt shop kingpin and owner of these buildings, Kishore "Mike" Motwani; Mathes Brierre Architects; and hospitality development company Wischermann Partners, Inc.— apparently aren't discouraged,though, as they're appealing the HDLC decision at tomorrow's (May 22) City Council meeting. According to The Times-Pic, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is not a fan "as long as it requires the razing of historic structures." No official word on the stance of CBD's Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell or how the Downtown Development District feels about the project.
1.) Historical fun facts according to historian William D. Reeves: 105 Tchoup, built in 1840, was Speake and McCreary grocery store and renowned explorer Sir Henry Stanley worked there. It was also the site of G.W. Dunbar's Sons, where 60,000 cans of shrimp, turtle, oysters, and figs were rolling out a day in the late 1890s. Over at 109 Tchoup, the original owner of the 1840-built building happened to be Paul Tulane (yes, the guy Tulane University is named after). And 422 Canal St., built in the mid-1860s, was modified in the 1880s by noted New Orleans architect James Freret.
2.) Demo proposal aside, the height of this project is also pretty attention grabbing. The building itself would be 255-feet in a part of town where the height limit caps at 70-feet, and a spire would bring the structure up to 350-feet. If City Council does give the go-ahead, the next stop is a visit to the City Planning Commission for a height waiver.
3.) Because what's a proposed development without a dose of drama? The Times-Pic reports that some folks against the plans have some beef with Motwani and blame him for the poor state of the historic buildings in this proposal. The city has cited him "more than 30 times over the past decade for neglect and blight violations" on these four buildings and, er, he also illegally installed ATMs in the facades of some historic CBD properties.
4.) While the ARC suggested tweaking the plans to work around the historic buildings, the developers say it's not "cost effective" to do so since there wouldn't be room for the 168-spot parking garage or enough space for 22 rooms on each floor. The ARC guys also mentioned mentioned the possibility of including the vacant Motwani-owned Sanlin Building next door, but apparently he has future development plans for that Canal Street site.
· Proposed Canal Street hotel facing opposition from Landrieu, preservationists [NOLA.com]
· Previous coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· A monument to diversity: 400 block of Canal St. [Preservation in Print]