Referencing the Jan. 12 Advocate article “Canal hotel tower plan revived,” Louisiana Landmarks Society commends New Orleans City Council member LaToya Cantrell for attempting to take a fresh look a few months ago at Kishore “Mike’’ Motwani’s proposal for a 21-story hotel tower at the foot of Canal at Tchoupitoulas Street.
At that time, the council member had formed a working group to find other solutions. Appropriate redevelopment of this site is of concern to the entire community.
In reading the working group summary, however, we noted that starting points for discussion were that the project needed to be large-scale for a flag hotel, the footprint could not be expanded due to cost and the new designs should not raise the cost over current estimates.
Using these requirements as the basis for the working group’s deliberations seems a flawed approach — not a fresh look. The parameters of the discussion seemed tailored to match this particular development.
What if, instead, the starting premise were to incorporate the historic buildings, along with development of new construction on the adjacent surface parking, into an appropriately sized hotel that complied with the Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance?
It should be noted that the current owner bought this property knowing the restrictions upon it and that similar development of the site was denied years ago, before the latest owner’s acquisition. It is simply not fair to the prior owners to allow this out-of-scale development now. We also question that such density and height are required to establish a flag hotel.
We would like to see that prime corner of the CBD developed but developed in a way that respects the history and architecture of our city.
It also should be in compliance with the Master Plan and CZO. Certainly, there are any number of economically feasible solutions aside from this 21-story proposal.
We should really take a fresh look at this corner with these thoughts in mind.
second vice president, chairman of advocacy
Louisiana Landmarks Society