NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After a number of starts and stops and years of neglect, a city selection committee On Tuesday chose the Four Seasons to redevelop the old World Trade Center site.
"Four seasons has the best economic proposal to the city," said Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin.
The winning bidder - the Carpenter-Woodward-Four Seasons group - promises a level of service the city hasn't seen.
"Four Seasons will bring a level of clientele, a new quality of people," said Richard Friedman with Carpenter.
The Four Seasons would build a 350-room hotel on floors seven through 19 with hotel-serviced condos on floors 21 through 30. The Four Seasons group would also build two new wings on the building to house restaurants, ballrooms and a tribute to local African-American history
"We'll still see the building - two additions - open up and cover the building improvements to the area," said Paul Flower with Woodward.
The Four Seasons promises direct economic benefits to the city of over $405 million over the life of the lease. The group beat out four competitors, including Starwood hotels, Conrad hotels and Alessandra.
As discussion moved into a second hour, there was a lot of talk about minority involvement in the project.
"We want to make sure there are benefits and careers for these local workers," said a New Orleans man who identified himself as 'Cosmo'.
City officials promise to provide jobs for those who need them most.
"No matter who's selected more than $80 million will be invested in disadvantaged businesses. More than 800 construction jobs," said selection committee member Ashleigh Gardere.
The New Orleans City Council will have to approve the lease, perhaps as early as May 7.
The Carpenter-Woodward-Four Seasons group has committed to paying the city $3.25 million in rent each year. It's also committed 2.5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of condos.
Its target completion date is December 2017.