Three development teams vying to revamp two city-owned parking lots near the city’s Piazza d’Italia monument will have an extra month to submit detailed plans for consideration, officials said Wednesday.
The extension comes a few weeks after two New Orleans City Council members urged the Canal Street Development Corp., the public benefit corporation that manages the lots for the city, to put more effort into getting local and minority workers hired on the Piazza project.
One member urged the corporation to give firms more time to submit proposals.
The agency said Wednesday its deadline has been pushed back from Wednesday until Dec. 15, the second time it has been extended.
A selection committee made up of the agency’s executive director, Cindy Connick; city Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin; and three other city officials is scheduled to choose a developer by March 24. The city hopes to finalize a lease with the chosen firm by April 20.
The three developers in the running are ICD Sitra, Chrysolite Management Group LLC and a joint venture of Carter, Majestic Realty Co. and Oakwood Development. They have various proposals to replace the surface lots with hotels, restaurants and convention or concert space.
None of the applicants is based in New Orleans, which drew the ire of Councilmen Jason Gray and Jason Williams during an October budget hearing.
Both men questioned whether the Canal Street Development Corp. had done enough to ensure local and minority participation.
However, because the developers would be putting up their own money for whatever project is approved, the city’s recently enacted hiring ordinance — which requires businesses receiving city contracts to award local and disadvantaged employees a certain percentage of work hours — does not apply to the Piazza d’Italia project, city officials said. Instead, firms are simply asked to make a good-faith effort to hire those workers.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.