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Convention Center Development Could be a Riverfront Mini-City

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renderings via MCCNO

It looks like the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center could be on its way to becoming its own tourist/conventioneer mini-city with a hotel, retail and entertainment spots, a riverfront park, and maybe even condos or apartments. Legislation involving expansion and development dreams passed in April and got the thumbs-up from Governor Bobby Jindal last week, The Times-Pic reports. It was signed into law that the convention center can issue bonds that would eventually lead to private development on a 47-acre hunk of land between Henderson Street (the upriver side of the convention center) and Market Street (hello, abandoned power plant). The convention center plans to toss between $150 million and $175 million into the ring with hopes that private developers will bring at least $700 million to the table.

In an effort to stay relevant and keep luring in the conventioneers, plans call for building a full-service hotel with at least 1,000 rooms that would connect to the convention center; a possible corporate conference center; and a riverfront park on land that is currently owned by Tulane University. A landscaped "linear park" would run along Convention Center Boulevard, where traffic would be whittled down to one lane in each direction with a lane set aside for taxis and buses. People mover plans were scrapped due to it being too costly, so in its place would be one of those airport-style moving walkways. A "request for interest" to potential developers is set to go out in the next couple weeks.
· Ernest N. Morial Convention Center looks to lure private developers for future riverfront [NOLA.com]
· Check out the Convention Center's plans for the riverfront [Curbed NOLA]
· Convention Center vision plan [official site]