Imagine monster, high-rise hotels and office buildings, side by side, lining every block of Canal Street from the river to the Interstate 10 overpass. It would create the Canal Canyon Corridor — a bleak, sunlight- deprived landscape of modern, urban ennui. This Tuesday, the City Planning Commission has the opportunity to help prevent this dismal landscape.
For consideration by the CPC at 400 Canal St. is another high-rise hotel project — above the legal height limitation and demolishing substantially historic architectural structures from 1840. This project was soundly rejected by the Historic District Landmarks Commission last year and again last week. The project, however, continues to be pushed onward with its same legal and architectural infirmities.
Granted, there are some buildings contributing to the potential canyon corridor, but the nonconforming 400 Canal St. project would become precedent for the next nonconforming contribution to the canyon, and the ones after that. There is a solution for this ill-adapted project. It could be built on Poydras Street, which is zoned for such projects and with no height limitations.
Canal Street is as unique and historical as any main street in this country. With its position as one of the four boundaries of the Vieux Carre, its size and scale should be kept in harmony with this historic area.
The CPC is urged not to aid in the creation of the Canal Canyon Corridor. Join the HDLC and reject this project.
Clyde H. Jacob III
president, Preservation Resource Center