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New Orleans Convention Center Hotel Closer to Construction

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority approved two key components critical to the development of the proposed New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s headquarters hotel

By Linden M. Bayliss

In late May, the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exibition Hall Authority approved two resolutions crucial to moving forward with the development of a 1,000-room headquarter hotel for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC). In addition to accepting a formal letter of intent with Omni Hotels & Resorts to own and operate the hotel, the organization also voted to approve a purchase and sale agreement for property at Convention Center Boulevard and Andrew Higgins Boulevard. The site, currently operated as The Sugar Mill event venue, is directly across the street from the convention center and is the preferred location for the headquarter hotel.

NOENMCC president and CEO Michael J. Sawaya speaks at a press conference
NOENMCC president and CEO Michael J. Sawaya speaks at a press conference || Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts

“In case anyone needed another reason to travel to New Orleans, this is it,” says Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry in a prepared statement. “I am ecstatic that the authority has taken the next step to develop a new hotel for the New Orleans convention center. My sincere thanks goes to Omni Hotels & Resorts, the [Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall] Authority, and all who worked to make this a reality. This hotel will bring more people and events to our state, and it gives us greater opportunity to showcase all that New Orleans has to offer.”

The hotel will be strategically positioned to help attract events that have previously passed on New Orleans because the city lacks a modern, upscale headquarter hotel adjacent to the convention center. Having such a hotel would increase New Orleans’ destination appeal both nationally and regionally, bringing opportunities for continued growth and success for the city, region, and state.

“The [Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall] Authority’s actions take us one step closer to attracting the trade shows, conventions, and events that only an adjacent headquarter hotel can,” says Michael J. Sawaya, NOENMCC president and CEO. “It will introduce a new market and mean more events and more jobs, generating new demand for rooms in other hotels in the market and more spending at local restaurants and other businesses. Building a headquarter hotel will be transformative for New Orleans tourism and realize a vision many years in the making.”

The new hotel will be modeled after the Omni Nashville Hotel, pictured above. || Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni has been the organization’s selected partner to operate the new hotel since 2018, having developed seven similar properties in other cities. Omni is investing $500 million to finance the project, which is expected support approximately 1,100 permanent jobs, generate roughly $282 million in annual impact on the local economy, and add a combined $24 million in annual tax revenue for New Orleans and Louisiana.

Negotiations will continue and conclude with final agreements being ready for the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority to review and consider at the end of this year. If approved, design and construction will begin next year with an expected opening date in 2028 or 2029.

exhallnola.com

omnihotels.com

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