NEW ORLEANS—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined elected officials and community stakeholders to announce multiple historic riverfront redevelopment projects between Spanish Plaza and Crescent Park. Not only will these landmark projects further stimulate economic growth and redevelop the City’s riverfront, but will also provide contiguous public access from Spanish Plaza to Crescent Park. Residents and visitors will be able to enjoy this spectacular 3.2-mile stretch and these projects will further optimize opportunities for planned activities along the riverfront.
The projects include:
- Spanish Plaza - $7.5 million plaza renovation;
- Four Seasons - $400 million Renovation of the World Trade Center;
- Canal Street Ferry Terminal - $37 million state-of-the-art terminal;
- Ferry Pedestrian Bridge - $7.3 million new pedestrian bridge;
- Woldenberg Riverfront Park - $6 million park improvements;
- Moonwalk Park - $3 million park renovation;
- Esplanade and Governor Nicholls Street Wharves - $15 million conversion; and,
- Crescent Park – $31.2 million.
”Through the hard work of every stakeholder involved, we are redeveloping the entire riverfront and creating a new way to experience New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “New Orleans will now be home to one of the largest contiguous riverfront parks in the U.S. which is a huge win for every resident and visitor of our city. This important step builds on the legacy of other great City leaders that opened up the riverfront and will spur economic development.”
New Orleans riverfront offers unparalleled views of the city’s skyline, Algiers and the Mississippi River, creating an environment for residents and visitors alike to interact and enjoy various vantage points of New Orleans and recreational space. By reconnecting to the Mississippi River, New Orleans joins the growing list of world-class cities that are exploring opportunities to restore and enhance the natural environment while simultaneously improving residents’ quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors.
As part of the City’s commitment to resilience and sustainability, these riverfront enhancements contain features to reduce energy usage and reduce the effects of global warming. Some of the features include LED lighting upgrades, enhanced tree canopies and storm water management features. This will result in a reduction of the heat island effect and reduction of light pollution.
District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, “The riverfront redevelopment will not only link commercial areas along the Mississippi with recreational space, it will also beautify a long neglected stretch of the riverfront with a new park. The coming Four Seasons, the renovation of Spanish Plaza, and the new ferry terminal and walkover are all assets to the city and signs of the economic boom we are currently experiencing. Our citizens will reap the benefit of new jobs and an enhanced quality of life. The proposed riverfront redevelopment will be a jewel in the crown of New Orleans.”
Councilmember-at-Large Jason Williams said, “As New Orleans redevelops one of its most valuable and beautiful natural resources, it is crucial that we prioritize connectivity along the entire riverfront. This must be a space open and accessible to all residents for a variety of uses. Thank you to our public and private partners who have made these dream projects a real possibility.”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “The transfer of the Public Belt to the Port of New Orleans should provide the public with confidence that the Public Belt operations will be in the best interest of the city and not any individual entity, will allow for responsible growth of the Port as one of our region’s most important economic assets, and will allow New Orleanians and visitors to gain access to and use the riverfront in ways that have never been realized before.”
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said, “New Orleans was established because of its relationship with the river, so this is a major milestone in reconnecting our residents with the lifeblood of the city. Following the success of Crescent Park, alongside similar stories in San Francisco and Boston, we are continuing a waterfront redevelopment being seen around the country. By welcoming our residents and guests to the riverfront, we will gain access to and appreciation of one of the City’s greatest assets.”
Sharonda Williams, Regional Transit Authority Board President said, “RTA is excited to be a part of the significant upgrade to the riverfront. Along with residents, over 10 million visitors visit new Orleans every year and I strongly believe this new terminal will proudly serve as the beacon to the gateway of our great City.”
Ron Forman, President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute said, “Audubon is honored to work with the City, New Orleans Public Belt, the Port of New Orleans and the hospitality coalition on the historic Tricentennial Riverfront Park, creating three miles of open riverfront green space for our community. Joined by Spanish Plaza, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, the Moonwalk, and Crescent Park, the promenade will serve as the ‘front porch’ of the city of New Orleans. Connecting these treasured parks will serve as a valuable community asset for families and visitors, and affirms Audubon’s mission of conservation, education and recreation.”
Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans said, "The Port celebrates our partnership with the City that allows residents and visitors to see for themselves what we at the Port experience every day – the magic of a working river in action. The benefits extend beyond the views. The Port's stewardship of the New Orleans Public Belt positions both entities to increase economic impact throughout the region."
Kathleen Turner, Executive Director of the French Market Corporation said, “The French Market Corporation is excited to partner with the City of New Orleans and be a part of redeveloping the City’s Riverfront. This work allows greater access to every resident and visitor in New Orleans.”
Darryl Berger, Founder and Chairman of the Berger Company said, “This transaction has been described as bold, visionary, transformative, and even historic. All of that applies as the result is a classic win-win-win for the City, Dock Board, and all citizens and visitors to this city. “
Riverfront Redevelopment Projects:
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) are investing $7.5 million to install new paving, a fountain, trees, plants, lighting, and seating to celebrate the Spanish Plaza as a primary destination on the riverfront and a world-class public venue and tourist attraction. The original tiles, given to the City by Spain, represent the Spanish Provinces and will be retained along the interior face of the fountain. The renovated plaza will enhance the plaza’s pedestrian experience, enhance the circulation between the Riverwalk and the RTA Ferry, and provide a more functional space for restaurants and other vendors to provide services to plaza patrons. To design the project, the Convention Center is providing $6.2 million and NOBC is providing $1.3 million. Construction will accommodate the tenants on the plaza throughout the construction phase. Construction is underway and is anticipated to be completed in April 2018. The project was designed by Dana Brown & Associates and is being constructed by Tuna Construction, LLC.
The New Orleans Four Seasons Hotel and Residences are investing $400 million to renovate and operate the 34-story, mixed-use development comprised of a 401-key Four Seasons hotel on the lower floors, 65 luxury condominiums on the upper floors, and Four Seasons five-star services and amenities. Services and amenities will include two restaurants, approximately 32,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, a roof-top pool and deck area, and a roof-top bar. A two-story roof-top cupola on floors 33 and 34 will be a public observation floor and roof deck. Visitors and the public will also have access to a cultural attraction on the second floor, which will include a series of interactive exhibits and a theater experience. The theme of the exhibits is expected to be New Orleans history and culture. Pre-construction should begin at the end of 2017 and the project is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. The project was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. and will be constructed by a yet-to-be-determined firm.
Canal Street Ferry Terminal
The $37 million Ferry Terminal Project includes a new terminal building and connection between the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Plaza and the Canal Street Wharf. The major components of the project include a 5,000-square-foot ferry terminal, an entrance from Canal Street and connection from the Aquarium, a new wharf providing an uninterrupted connection between the Aquarium Plaza and the Canal Street Wharf, an additional upriver street car connection heading toward the convention center, the connection of the Badine Street bus station, and the purchase of eight new buses to operate in the area. Funding for the project came from federal grants ($23.9 million), the City of New Orleans Land Match ($4.7 million), the State of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (La DOTD) ($264,856), and the RTA ($8 million). Bids for the project are due on Nov. 30, 2017 with demolition of the existing ferry terminal slated for January 2018. The project was designed by Manning Architects and construction is anticipated to be completed in April 2019.
On October 23, 2017, the RTA, in cooperation with La DOTD, applied for a $2.4 million grant to modernize the Algiers Point Ferry Terminal. The RTA proposes to use an additional $609,267 in La DOTD funding to match the federal grant for the project.
Ferry Pedestrian Bridge
The $7.3 million pedestrian bridge is being funded by City capital funds ($5 million), bond proceeds from the NOBC Canal Street improvements ($900,000), and RTA funds ($1.4 million). The pedestrian bridge will be located next to the Aquarium, on property operated by the Audubon Nature Institute, and it will connect to a new bus terminal and the riverfront streetcar as part of the multi-modal hub being constructed by RTA. To retain feedback from interested parties, two public meetings will be held, the first in Algiers at a site to be determined in November, and the second at the Aquarium in December. More details to follow. Construction is expected to be complete by Spring 2019 in conjunction with the Canal Street Ferry Terminal Project.
Woldenberg Riverfront Park
Recently, Audubon Nature Institute invested over $6 million in Woldenberg Riverfront Park improvements. The work covers extensive wharf repairs, sculpture restoration, plaza perimeter repair and landscaping, including 35 palm trees, and a 90-foot linear splash pad that features a variety of light shows along the riverfront in front of the Aquarium. Funding for the project came from federal Community Development Block Grant funds ($4.5 million) with the remainder ($1.5 million) coming from bond refinancing and state capital outlay dollars.
Audubon is planning to invest approximately $1 million in a project that includes extensive brick repair on the plaza, lighting improvements, more landscaping and signage. Funding for the project will be funded by private donors to Audubon and self-generated revenue.
In 1975, Mayor Moon Landrieu envisioned the removal of abandoned port warehouses in front of Jackson Square and the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk with trees and seating along the river. Today, The French Market Corporation is investing $3 million to revitalize the riverfront promenade that extends from St. Peter to St. Philip Streets. The project will include additional shade trees and native plant materials, enhanced walking surface, new lighting, and improved connection from the city to the river with prominence at Washington Artillery Park. The pedestrian-only connection between the top of Washington Artillery Park and the riverfront will solidify the “elegant connection” from the Mississippi River to the heart of the French Quarter envisioned in the 2008 Riverfront Master Plan. The connection will add additional plaza space for river viewing. The project was designed by Perez, APC and is being constructed by Dynamic Constructors.
Esplanade and Governor Nicolls Wharfs
In June, the City of New Orleans, the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt partnered to align the Public Belt Railroads and its assets under the Port of New Orleans while the Port transferred the Governor Nicholls Street and Esplanade Avenue Wharves along the Mississippi River to the City of New Orleans. This agreement will complete the 3 miles of contiguous public access to the riverfront from Crescent Park to Spanish Plaza. The Port is working with various hospitality partners to facilitate efforts to secure up to $15 million to convert the wharves into public park spaces. Yesterday, October 26, 2017, the Port of New Orleans board voted to approve the exchange. At this time, the City expects to obtain ownership of the wharves by the end of 2017 and provide some public access to the riverfront with modest improvements by spring 2018. Additional enhancements will begin in future years, with a public planning process to follow.
Crescent Park has been the host of several cultural events since its opening in 2015. The $31.2 million, 1.4-mile park spans from Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny to Mazant Street in Bywater and includes 20-acres of indigenous landscaping; a network of paths suitable for walking, jogging, and biking; picnic areas; benches; a dog run; and the adaptive reuse of two former industrial wharves. The walking paths within the gardens are constructed with permeable asphalt paving, an environmentally-friendly material that allows for rainwater penetration, decreasing the amount of storm water run-off. Crescent Park is landscaped with native plantings, most of which are grown regionally. Crescent Park opened in July 2015 and French Market Corporation operates, maintains, and provides security.