NEW YORK (August 2002) — Continuing the largest expansion in the companys 56-year history, Loews Hotels hosted groundbreaking ceremonies on July 16 for the new $65 million, 285-room luxury Loews New Orleans Hotel. This latest property will be the national brands sixth new hotel in as many years when it opens in the fall of 2003 and comes on the heels of the highly successful launch of the 1000-room Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, A Loews Hotel, in June of 2002.
Ideally situated in the heart of New Orleans Central Business District, the Loews Hotels New Orleans is a conversion of the former Lykes Building located at the corner of Poydras and South Peters Street in the heart of the New Orleans Riverfront and across the street from the Harrahs New Orleans Jazz Casino.
Similar to the conversion of the historical PSFS building into the 585-room Loews Philadelphia Hotel, which opened in April 2000, the Lykes Building will be completely rebuilt as the four-star, luxury Loews New Orleans featuring approximately 140 suites, an upscale restaurant, 14,000 square feet of meeting space, a health club and spa as well as on-site parking facilities.
Inspired by the rich history of the city of New Orleans, interior design elements are derived from a mixture of Creole, West Indies, Colonial French and the influence the Mississippi River had on the city. Throughout the hotel, from the large glass areas and high ceilings on the first floor to the spacious guestrooms above, the interiors will feature an open, lively and comfortable atmosphere achieved by the use of light colors and soft curves introduced into the patterns, walls, and flooring. Alexandra Champalimaud and Associates of New York has been selected as the interior design company.
The architects, Lyons & Hudson of New Orleans in conjunction with Hewitt and Washington, another New Orleans firm, will incorporate the Piazza d'Italia into the hotel design. The developers have budgeted in excess of $1 million for the rejuvenation and rebuilding of the Piazza d'Italia, an award-winning Charles Moore-designed outdoor Romanesque-style Piazza originally created in 1978 on city land as a tribute to the contributions of the Italian community to the development of New Orleans.
Noting the significance of the Loews New Orleans Hotel as the first major hotel project to be announced in the city since September 11, Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, commented, Loews Hotels involvement and commitment to this project is an affirmation of our belief that New Orleans will continue to grow as a prime convention and tourism destination. The Loews New Orleans Hotel is a tremendous addition to our portfolio of one-of-a-kind properties.
Construction begins this month with completion expected in Fall 2003. New Orleans tourism officials say the addition of the Loews New Orleans Hotel to the region's inventory will provide more luxury options for blue-chip visitors and another potential headquarters hotel for major conventions.
Tisch said Loews Hotels will operate the hotel as part of a long-term management contract. The hotel will be owned by Piazza d'Italia Hotel Associates, LLC, and Multi-Employer Development Partners L.P., a limited partnership of tax-exempt institutional investors. Mortgage financing will be provided by Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (West LB), a German bank with offices in New York City, together with the Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans. Brice Construction Company of New Orleans will serve as general contractor.
Darryl Berger of Piazza dItalia Hotel Associates commented that the Phase IV expansion of the Morial Convention Center will further strengthen the New Orleans market, bringing more than 1 million conventioneers to the city each year. Roger Ogden, also of Piazza dItalia Associates, said, The Loews New Orleans Hotel, within five minutes of the Morial Convention Center, the Vieux Carre, the Louisiana Superdome and the Warehouse District, fills an important need for another four-star hotel in Downtown New Orleans. The 300 jobs this hotel brings to the continued growth of our economy are very important.
John Keeling, a hotel analyst based in Houston for the national firm of PKF, says he sees Loews as a great addition to New Orleans' inventory of four-star hotels. Loews is stepping into the New Orleans market at a time when convention business is expanding, despite the soft national economy and the after-effects of 9/11. The long-term outlook is that New Orleans will continue to be a prime location for the nation's top conventions and Loews will bring a very strong reputation for successful operations and an excellent brand name to an already-robust market. The addition of Loews to New Orleans would seem to be a win-win all around.