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Three plans presented to revitalize the World Trade Center

New Orleans, La - On a prime piece of real estate in downtown New Orleans, the World Trade Center sits empty.

Previous attempts to revive the 33-story building as a hotel failed, now the city is ready to try again.

Three visions for the long troubled site are now public. Only one of the proposals calls for demolition of the World Trade Center. The other two developers say that would be a huge mistake.

  Tri-centennial Consortium proposes a five phase project that local tourism leaders are already supporting.

   "We have a once in a century opportunity to redefine that piece of riverfront," says Stephen Perry, President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

That $165 million plan calls for tearing down the skyscraper and replacing it with a park and huge monument, called Tri-Centennial Tower.

It includes a total transformation of Convention Center Boulevard, with some type of pedestrian mover system like light rail and a pedestrian oriented streetscape.

  The proposed public private partnership envisions retail space, condos and possibly a 12-hundred room hotel on the Uptown side of the Morial Convention Center.

Gatehouse Capital has an ambitious plan as well, but to re-invent the first World Trade Center in the world.

"To tear it down would be radical, wasteful and harmful to the urban fabric of New Orleans," says David Garcia, local co-developer of the Gatehouse Capital proposal.

Its $190 million proposal uses private funding and $75 million in historic tax credits.

It includes a W Hotel on the lower 12 floors. The rest of the building includes luxury apartments, the return of a revolving lounge and a riverfront skywheel, all creating revenue.

"We think that can be the new tourist attraction that will energize that area."

A third $180 million proposal by James Burch, LLC also includes remodeling the World Trade Center, at no cost to the public.

"You already have an iconic monument, built and paid for by the city," says James Burch.

He says in addition to a hotel and luxury apartments, the plans calls for a World Plaza, an open air mall of sorts on the first few floors.

Four floors would return to the building's original purpose, housing foreign consulates.

"The consulates would hopefully would want to be there and they will want to be there."

Three options now on the table for transforming one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in New Orleans, in time for the city's 300 year celebration.

   The Tri-Centennial Consortium proposal partially depends on state lawmakers approving the use of Convention Center bond money, to finance hundreds of millions of dollars in new private development.

    The New Orleans Building Corporation owns the World Trade Center and will form a committee to evaluate all three proposals.

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