WTC Headed Toward $190M Luxury Hotel, Apartment Redevelopment

The 670,000-square-foot World Trade Center in New Orleans is two steps away from kicking off an adaptive reuse project that would transform it into a mixed-use luxury hotel and upscale apartment development.

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The 670,000-square-foot World Trade Center in the New Orleans CBD is two steps away from kicking off an adaptive reuse project that would transform it into a mixed-use luxury hotel and upscale apartment development. According to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans Building Corp. (NOBC) has approved starting lease negotiations with Gatehouse Capital Corp., the proponent of the winning redevelopment bid. If negotiations go smoothly and an agreement is reached between the NOBC and Gatehouse, it will go before the city council for final approval.

The adaptive reuse of the 407-foot historic building is expected to total $190 million, with $75 million coming from historic tax credits and the remainder from new private investment. Dallas-based Gatehouse will negotiate signing a 99-year lease for the city-owned skyscraper and transform what is currently a blighted office property, an eyesore at the foot of Canal Place.

The first 12 floors of the 33-story high-rise will be converted into a flagship W Hotel, set to replace the 410-key W location on Poydras Street , which, as previously reported on this page, is currently under a $29 million brand reconversion into the Big Easy’s first Le Méridien. The X-shaped WTC building will also gain a five-story attachment on its south side to house new parking, a loading/service area and a 16,000-square-foot rooftop pool and event venue complete with Mississippi River views, designed to hold large events and destination entertainment, such as live concerts. The hotel’s fifth floor will house hotel amenities such as the signature W Bliss Spa, fitness center, pool deck and the unique Spa Suites – oversize hotel suites featuring spa amenities such as a sauna. The ground floor will house the W Lobby Bar and a signature, chef-driven restaurant and bar, complete with outdoor dining.

Floors 13 through 30 will be converted into 280 luxury apartments, advertised as “best in market” on the project’s website. Apartments will come in one- and two-bedroom configurations, and will include some of the most high-end penthouses in the Crescent City. They will feature 18-foot ceilings and wall-to-wall glass, providing sweeping views of the city and river. Although initially unbranded, residential units could ultimately be converted into W-branded for-sale condominiums with hotel services and amenities. Apartment amenities are to be housed on the 31st floor and include a resident sky lounge/business center, state-of-the art fitness center, rooftop pool/spa, open-air roof deck complete with fire pit and outdoor kitchen.

As it did prior to 2005, the top, 33rd floor will house a rotating jazz cocktail lounge and dinner room. The 7,500-square-foot venue will operate with a celebrity chef and high-profile local musical talent.

Gatehouse Capital has previous experience developing W hotels, as well as W-branded hotel-and-residence projects. The company has also expressed a wish to install a Sky Wheel on the riverfront, eliminating car traffic on the Algiers-Canal Street Ferry and redeveloping several public spaces around the WTC.

Rendering courtesy of Save WTC NOLA via Facebook