Gretna hotel development to start with Courtyard by Marriott _lowres


The first of an expected three hotels to be built on a recently annexed parcel of Gretna north of the West Bank Expressway will be a four-story, 123-room Courtyard by Marriott.

Bui Nguyen, who is developing the 11-acre parcel next to an existing Holiday Inn, has applied for site-plan approval from the city. It is expected to be granted when the City Council meets Wednesday.

The council also will consider a request by Gattuso’s restaurant to renovate and expand its bar and grill in downtown Gretna.

The planned hotel development came to light late last year when Gretna and Jefferson Parish officials began the process of letting Gretna annex the land, which was part of Terrytown in unincorporated Jefferson.

The parcel was not connected to the parish’s sewer system, and Nguyen asked if the parcel could be annexed by the city, which would have had to provide the sewer services anyway. The parish agreed over the objections of some Terrytown residents, who said the Holiday Inn seems to do fine although it is part of unincorporated Jefferson.

The Courtyard by Marriott will include meeting rooms, an indoor pool and 123 parking spaces and should be completed by mid-2015, said Michael Sherman, a spokesman for the development.

“This will be the first phase of a first-class development for Gretna and our region on this site that has lain vacant for many decades,” Nguyen said in a written statement.

Sherman would not comment on plans for more hotels but said there would be retail development at the site.

Councilman Wayne Rau said the development should be able to attract significant revenue to the city, particularly when it’s fully built out.

“That’s going to help us to host conventions when we get all three (hotels) together,” he said, noting the site is only a few minutes from downtown New Orleans.

Officials have talked about designating the site as an economic development district to redirect some of the new tax revenue back into the development, although the administration hasn’t submitted anything to the council for approval. Mayor Belinda Constant could not be reached for comment Monday.

As for Gattuso’s, plans indicate the neighborhood restaurant, which now sits toward the back of the lot at Huey P. Long Avenue and Fifth Street, will almost double in size after another 1,680 square feet are added.

Plans show the outdoor seating will move closer to Huey P. Long. The restaurant’s owners could not be reached for comment.