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285-Key Loews New Orleans Completes $4M Update; 106-Key Pontchartrain Hotel Embarks on $10M Remodel

24 Nov 2014, 3:19 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Loews New Orleans

The 285-key Loews New Orleans, a landmark downtown New Orleans hotel, has announced completing a $4 million renovation. The three-month project updates guest rooms and renovated corridors and the hotel restaurant, Café Adelaide. Updated features include new carpeting, lighting fixtures, sofas, chairs and new art. The renovation was led by New Orleans firm Lisambiance Interior Design.

“New Orleans has experienced an incredible surge in visitors these past few years, which means everyone in the city wants to put their best face forward,”  said Loris Menfi, the hotel’s general manager.

Located at 300 Poydras St., the 21-story hotel features amenities such as an indoor heated saltwater pool, co-ed whirlpool, dry sauna, fitness center, spa, business center, on-site parking and 17,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, as well as an outdoor events venue.

Loews New Orleans is owned by Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. through wholly owned subsidiary Inland American Lodging Group Inc. As previously reported, the REIT purchased the hotel for $74.5 million, or $261,000 per key, a little over a year ago. Loews Hotels & Resorts manages the asset. Formerly an office high-rise, the building was converted in 2004.

Pontchartrain Hotel

In other hospitality news, Chicago real estate investment firm AJ Capital Partners has picked up the 106-key Pontchartrain Hotel for an undisclosed sum. According to The Times-Picayune, the new owners plan to renovate the property and reopen it as a full-service hotel. IberaBank will finance the $10 million project. The property was built in 1927 as an apartment hotel and hosted the likes of Rita Hayworth and Frank Sinatra.

Click here for further Charlotte market data.

Photo credits: Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons and Inland American Lodging Group 



202-Key Former Wyndham Rebrands as Omni Riverfront Hotel

20 Nov 2014, 4:34 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Omni Riverfront Hotel

The New Orleans hospitality market continues to stay white-hot, as yet another hotel switches between giants’ flags, proving the allure of owning a Big Easy lodging asset.

The hotel, at 701 Convention Center Blvd. and known as the Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans only a few days ago, has become the Omni Riverfront Hotel. Omni Hotels & Resorts was contracted by Riverfront Lodging LLC to take over the management contract of the 202-unit luxury asset.

“We are excited about the rebranding of the Riverfront New Orleans as an Omni,” said Joe Jaeger, owner of Riverfront Lodging. “This is our second property to join the Omni family, and we look forward to a longstanding and productive relationship,” he added. According to The Times-Picayune, Jaeger, through Riverfront Lodging, has partial ownership of the rebranded property. He is also in the run for a long-term lease for a vacant site near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where convention center officials envision a hotel-anchored mixed-use project. As previously reported, Jaeger partially or outright owns several New Orleans hotels, including the 93-key historic Whitney Hotel, which he picked up earlier this year for $10.5 million. Financial details of Omni’s contract have not been disclosed.

Omni Royal Crescent Hotel

Omni’s rebranding of the former Wyndham property comes after an $8 million, six-month, full-property renovation. The process included a complete overhaul of guest rooms, which now feature high-end touches such as 42-inch flat-screen TVs. The hotel bar has been flipped 180 degrees, and the hotel restaurant, formerly known as 7 on Fulton, has rebranded as Fulton St. Bistro | Bar. While the hotel has been extensively refreshed, the property’s New Orleans style and vintage past have been preserved. The Warehouse District hotel features a 24-hour fitness center as well as in-room fitness kits, four meeting rooms totaling 3,325 square feet of meeting and event space, with the largest facility clocking in at 1,700 square feet.

Omni Riverfront is the brand’s third New Orleans asset. Other holdings include the Warehouse District’s 97-key boutique Omni Royal Crescent and the French Quarter’s 345-key Omni Royal Orleans.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Images courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts

 



$38M Children’s Museum to Open in 2017

10 Nov 2014, 5:17 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Louisiana Children’s Museum Early Learning Village

New Orleans is on track for the late 2017 opening of the Louisiana Children’s Museum Early Learning Village, reported the Mid-City Messenger. Set to open in time for New Orleans’ 2018 tricentennial, the Early Learning Village is moving at a steady pace toward accruing the $38 million needed for its development. Funds for the first-of-its-kind early learning museum will be put together from three different sources. The state of Louisiana will provide the bulk of the funds, directing more than $20 million towards the interactive children’s learning center. The Louisiana Children’s Museum plans to raise $13 million through private donations and funding – of this it has amassed $5 million to date. The third source of capital will be provided by the sale of the museum’s Julia Street building.

Set to be developed on 8.5 acres in City Park, the 58,000-square-foot facility will co-locate the children’s museum with a nature center, literacy center, parent and teacher resource center, childcare center, performing arts center, edible garden, kitchen and café. The complex will also include outdoor multipurpose spaces, several acres of discovery walks and diverse ecosystems. The Early Learning Village will be built to showcase sustainability and environmental stewardship. As such, the project is designed to attain a LEED Gold rating. The site design is also part of a national Sustainable Sites pilot project.

According to Mid-City Messenger, the project’s design is the result of collaboration between Mithun, HandsOn! Inc., Waggonner & Ball Architects and Gyroscope Inc. The latter has been the master planner of the acclaimed Thinkery, Austin’s new children’s museum.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Rendering courtesy of Mithun



$250M South Market District Continues Dynamic Retail Space Leasing

1 Nov 2014, 2:00 pm

The Paramount

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

As The Domain Cos. gears up to start pre-leasing the 20,000 square feet of retail that will be included in the 126-unit The Beacon, The South Market District’s third phase, the project’s first two phases are filling up at a steady pace. In fact, retail space in the 444-car The Park is 100 fully leased and the 209-unit The Paramount is now 96 percent leased, after a steady stream of retail announcements over the past few months.

“We have one small space available,” Megan Mcneill, a Marketing Manager at Domain, told Multi-Housing News. Domain has worked with Atlanta-based Terremark Partners on leasing the retail space to both local and national businesses.

One of the most recently signed businesses is Barre3 New Orleans. The Uptown New Orleans studio specializing in the barre3 fitness system, announced it will be opening a second location at the 209-unit The Paramount. The new location will target South Market residents, downtown workers and tourists. Barre3 will add to the existing 3,500 square feet of fitness space available at The Paramount.

Blaze Pizza also joined The Paramount’s tenant line-up in October, hot on the heels of Ursa Major and Magasin Kitchen.  Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a rapidly growing California-based pizza chain will open in January 2015, joining the brand’s 12 nationwide locations. Magasin Kitchen will also open early in 2015, courtesy of Magasin, the acclaimed New Orleans Vietnamese restaurant on Magazine Street. The second Magasin location will feature a sustainability-centric open design, courtesy of LSArchitecture PLLC and local green design firm Spruce Interiors & Design Studio. Ursa Major will also be led by a local team. The new restaurant concept developed by the team behind Bywater’s popular Booty’s Street Food will not only operate a restaurant at The Paramount but also serve as the apartment community’s exclusive poolside food and beverage provider.

The Park

National furniture company Arhaus was the first retailer announced for the highly anticipated $250 million South Market. Arhaus, The Park’s anchor tenant, is the brand’s first Louisiana location. Another significant tenant of the $21.3 million The Park is CVS, which will take up 10,000 square feet of the building’s 27,000-square-foot retail space, The Times-Picayune reported. Hattie Sparks, the popular Uptown lifestyle boutique store, will also open a second location at The Park. The five-story, 444-car parking facility’s tenant line-up will be completed by Enterprise CarShare, New Orleans’ first public car-sharing program, according to WDSU News. Enterprise CarShare’s initial fleet will also feature two hybrid cars, adding to The Park’s many green features, which also include a bike-sharing program for South Market residents. The Park will also be the city’s first public parking facility to offer electric car-charging stations.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Images courtesy of The Domain Cos.



$120M Hyatt House to Open in 24-Story CBD Office Building

21 Oct 2014, 1:15 am

 By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Hyatt Regency New Orleans (front and left) and 1250 Poydras St. (back on the right)

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has announced the development of a new Hyatt property in New Orleans. Set to open in 2015 at 1250 Poydras St., the new location will operate under the Hyatt House brand, New Orleans’ first. Launched in 2012, the residentially inspired Hyatt House offers guests studio, one- and two-bedroom suites featuring full kitchens.

As a testament to the city’s booming tourism industry, the new 194-key location will be developed at 1250 Poydras St., the CBD’s largest contiguous Class A office space, taking up seven floors of the building’s 24 levels. The hotel lobby will occupy the 11th floor, while guest rooms will take up floors 12 through 17. Expected to open in 2015, the Hyatt House will be adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Arena and the booming BioDistrict. It will also be just a few blocks away from the French Quarter, the Mississippi Riverfront and the Morial Convention Center.  Courtesy of a second story skybridge, the new hotel will be connected to the 1,193-key Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which reopened in 2011 after a $275 million redesign. The sky bridge will ensure Hyatt House guests have access to the Regency’s amenities.

The 134,000-square-foot New Orleans Hyatt House will be operated by Hyatt Hotel affiliate Select Hotels Group LLC. The latter has entered into a management agreement with an affiliate of Waypoint NOLA LLC for the 194-key hotel. The conversion from vacant office space to New Orleans Hyatt House will be financed by a $120 million loan from Starwood Property Trust subsidiary Starwood Property Mortgage LLC.  The loan is guaranteed by a 60-year lease from building owner Poydras Properties to Waypoint NOLA.

ENI Petroleum had leased 56,000 square feet of the future hotel space through October 2018, but it had sat vacant for several years, ever since ENI Petroleum moved its New Orleans operations to Houston. The new project’s lease buyout saved ENI $2.5 million in future lease expenses.

Robert Hand, president of Louisiana Commercial Realty LLC, who marketed the space, said: “Of the 9,000,000 square feet of Class A CBD office space, over 1 million square feet of Class A CBD office space is for lease, and half of that is full floor space. With the thriving New Orleans tourism-based economy, there is more demand for hotel use than for full-floor Class A office space.”

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image via Hyatt Regency New Orleans







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