Audborn Building Restored to Accomodate Saint Hotel

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor New Orleans’ hospitality industry was in dire need of revitalization following the economic downturn and Hurricane Katrina. Several projects meant to bring the city back to its former glory have been launched in the past few [...]

New Orleans’ hospitality industry was in dire need of revitalization following the economic downturn and Hurricane Katrina. Several projects meant to bring the city back to its former glory have been launched in the past few years, including the Superdome renovation or the restoration of the Joy and Saenger Theatres.

More recently, developer David Mark Wyant announced plans to redevelop the long-vacant Audborn building at 931 Canal St. and turn it into a 166-room hotel with a restaurant and bar.

After several failed attempts to refurbish the eight-story building, the site stood mostly or completely empty for more than a decade–until it was bought out of foreclosure in April 2010 for $5.4 million. Seeing the great potential of the building sitting next door to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Dallas developer immediately grasped the opportunity to enroll in a new project. Renovations are currently underway and costs are expected to rise to about $39 million, with the grand opening slated for mid-December, according to the Times Picayune.

Boasting an excellent location at the corner of Canal and Burgundy streets in the world-renowned French Quarter, the 131,000-square-foot Saint Hotel will include modern guest rooms, 1,450 square feet of meeting and special event space, a modern American restaurant, a jazz spot and a rooftop bar and lounge with panoramic views of downtown New Orleans.

Making up for the lost banking segment that migrated away from the Crescent City, healthcare is taking over as a growth engine. One of the largest employers in the area, Ochsner Health System, is moving ahead with its expansion plans, adding a 500,000-square-foot primary-care clinic to its main campus in Old Jefferson. According to the Times-Picayune, an old Sears warehouse on the lake side of Jefferson Highway will be converted into a modern healthcare facility, while a second warehouse is to be reshaped to accommodate parking. The new clinic will be connected to the core campus on the river side by an elevated, air-conditioned pedestrian bridge over the highway, as part of the $30 million project that’s expected to be complete next year.