New Orleans, LA – A bond measure for expansion of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was approved by a committee in the Louisiana legislature.
The proposed bond issuance approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 8 would provide $142 million for the massive Vision Plan project. It will add new executive conference space and an entryway on the south end of the convention center, and focus much of its resources on a renaissance of the surrounding area.
The convention center last year opened its 60,000 square-foot Great Hall and 25,000 square feet of pre-function space. The center currently offers 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space and is tied for 6th place in Trade Show Executive’s World’s Top Convention Centers ranking.
Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger of New Orleans told The Times-Picayune that the measure would attract as much as $1 billion in private investment to the convention center neighborhood. The expansion plan envisions a new hotel near the center as well as retail and residential development.
The bond would also be used to develop a riverfront park and other green space around the convention center. The bonds would be paid back with convention center revenues and hotel taxes.
The newspaper said the bond proposal enjoyed a high level of support in the capital since the project would not increase the state’s debt.
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