National Jazz Center Park Planned For Central New Orleans

Strategic Hotels & Resorts has proposed a plan to build a 20-acre national jazz center and park in the center of New Orleans, to be designed by Pritzker Prize winner, Thom Mayne.
June 4, 2006, 11am PDT | Charles Siegel
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"Hyatt has fronted nearly $3 million of the project’s development so far, and executives with the hotel company say they have about $400 million in financing lined up. About 53 percent of the project’s financing would be private. Developers now need to work with public agencies, explore tax credit projects, approach foundations and seek additional investors to put together the rest.

Under the plan one million square feet of public buildings, including city hall, Orleans Parish Civil District court, the old Supreme Court building and the old state office building would be demolished, along with the city hall garage, the New Orleans Shopping Center and parts of the Hyatt to make way for a park anchored by the 25,000-square foot National Jazz Center.

City hall would move to the 26-story Dominion tower office building, which has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina, and where dozens of its storm-broken windows still are sealed with plywood. State offices would be rebuilt at the site of the Civil District Court building, and the entrance of the Hyatt would move to Loyola Avenue.

The multi-level six-block park will include a 20,000-square foot jazz performance center with seating for 1,000 people, a black-box theater with seating for 300 people, a 70,000-square foot amphitheater with lawn seating, a 60,000 square foot education center for children, rehearsal studios available to local musicians and an archive for jazz research.

The Superdome would be connected to the park with a bridge, and the park will be decorated with statues, fountains, and interactive displays. Poydras Street will become a tunnel covered by acres of grass in an art park that will also double as a tail-gating area for the Arena and Superdome."

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Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 in New Orleans Times-Picayune
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