Convention Center District Development

Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority Receives Independent Analysis of Proposed Convention Center Hotel Project

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The Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority (“the Authority”) was presented an analysis today, during their August meeting that is the first formal step in negotiating in earnest with the selected developer of the proposed 1,200 room hotel attached to the Convention Center. The report by nationally respected HVS Convention, Sports, and Entertainment Consulting (“HVS”) studied the economic benefits of the developer’s hotel proposal and evaluated the proposed financing structure.

Among the most significant findings of the study were that it will induce an estimated 172,000 new room nights into the market annually, generate an additional $208 million of new direct annual spending in the local economy, and create 1,900 new permanent jobs. The report also estimated an annual total economic impact of $282 million.

The Authority, the governing body for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, has been pursuing the development of a convention center headquarters hotel for the upriver end of the facility for several years. Matthews Southwest Hospitality, LLC was the developer selected from the formal RFP issued back in April 2018.

“The findings by HVS affirmed our professional instincts that a 1,200 room hotel connected to the convention center will induce new demand and will generate significant net new taxes and create new convention demand for the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, said Michael J. Sawaya, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “We now have an informed position to begin formal negotiations with Matthews Southwest Hospitality, LLC, our selected development partner, who is anxious to get this important economic development project started.”

The analysis also illustrated that a hotel of this size and scope cannot be developed with conventional private sector financing and that the proposed incentives are in line with or below other comparable projects completed around the United States.

“The Authority is pleased with the results of this extensive, independent analysis and we expect negotiations to now move to the formal process.” said Melvin Rodrigue, Authority Chairman. “We are committed to negotiating a fair deal to get the hotel built and opened, to generate new demand, which will deliver much needed tax benefits to the City of New Orleans, Rodrigue continued, “This hotel will be the catalyst for the planned 40 acres mixed-use development surrounding the hotel that will also generate new taxes and create thousands of new jobs. These next few years, we will see a complete transformation of the district surrounding the Convention Center that will, no doubt, bring thousands of new visitors to New Orleans.”

In the coming weeks, the Authority is planning to issue a Request For Qualifications to developers for the 40 acre mixed-use development that will surround the hotel and include retail, residential, dining and entertainment components. A short list of developers will then be asked to submit formal proposals for consideration by the Authority.

HVS Convention Sports and Entertainment Consulting is the industry expert in providing analysis that informs public agencies, lenders and investors on major development project. The firm has over 50 offices around the globe and has provided analysis on over 50,000 assignments.

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 12-member board of commissioners, nine appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $81.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.

About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features an award winning staff and first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A consistent Top 10 host of the largest conventions and tradeshows in the nation annually, the Convention Center is also one of the city’s “Top Workplaces.” A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $81.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.

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