Development projects underway to revitalize Canal Street

Published: Oct. 10, 2019 at 5:37 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Canal Street is undergoing what may be considered a Renaissance.

Several developments are underway which will bring more jobs and economic growth to the area.

One of the premier developments along Canal Street is the new Hard Rock Hotel that's set to open in May of 2020.

Crews started the process of hoisting and installing a rooftop pool for the hotel Thursday.

“The Hard Rock right next to the Saenger Theatre is an incredible combination. So people staying over there, their guests can come to the Saenger and vice versa,” Saenger Theatre Manager Sam Voisin said.

Other developments on the block include a newly opened hostel.

There are plans for another hotel, which will be location at the site of the old Loews State Palace Theatre, which has been untouched since prior to Katrina.

"Revitalizing this block here is going to help everyone including the Saenger," Voisin said.

That includes renovation to a building in the 1000 block of Canal that was destroyed by a fire three years ago.

"It was owned by my uncle that store back in the day, and when it caught on fire, there was I think his store, there was another shoe store for my cousin, Athlete's Foot right there, and I think there was another nail shop," Akram Abdul Baqr, who works at Diva Beauty Supply said.

His business now sits across the street, facing the charred remains of where his shop once sat.

"Doing this construction around this 1000 block on Canal Street I think is a very good positive thing for the business in general, for retail business. Since after that building caught on fire, the block in general is kind of slow foot traffic," Abdul Baqr said.

It may not be long before the building comes back to life.

Downtown Development District CEO Kurt Weigle says construction is underway to create a mixed-use space.

"That really points to I think the last major piece of the Canal Street development strategy that we've been working on, which is upper floor development," Weigle said.

Part of the building should be completed by the end of this year, and retail stores are expected to open during the first half of next year.

“This is our way of making sure there are people here to make use of all the other amenities of downtown. Then what that does in turn, it creates a stronger market for those amenities. So we’re going to see even more restaurants and entertainment uses throughout all of downtown,” Weigle said.

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