The Downtown Development District hopes everyone enjoyed a safe and healthy holiday season as we said goodbye to 2020 and set our sights to a brighter 2021. The previous year brought many challenges, including a busy hurricane season, the Coronavirus pandemic, and the economic impact that followed as a result. Through it all, Downtown stakeholders have worked to power through with determination, resiliency and innovation. On behalf of the DDD Board and Staff, we would like to thank you for your partnership and tenacity as we continue forward.
Throughout 2020, development continued in Downtown; The Odeon, a $106 million mixed-use project at 1100 Girod Street and the tallest high-rise constructed in 30 years is now complete, and the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, a $530 million renovation of the former World Trade Center at the foot of Canal Street is opening in early 2021. Other notable projects in various stages of development include the Rubensteins Hotel on Canal Street, the Virgin Hotel on Baronne Street as well as upper floor residential projects at 623 – 629 Canal Street and 111 Exchange Alley. The DDD continues to support the efforts of Downtown stakeholders and partners in establishing a thriving Downtown New Orleans that we’re proud to have built together.
In 2020, the DDD worked with the City of New Orleans in launching Curbside Dining Downtown. The DDD has long advocated for the use of parking spaces for additional café-style seating, and as we move through this recovery, expanded outdoor seating for Downtown restaurants and bars are an essential component. The DDD worked with several businesses through the permitting process and provided landscaped planters, stanchion posts and ropes, and string lights to enhance the dining experience.
Our Clean & Safe programs, an essential part of the DDD’s mission, continued to operate uninterrupted throughout the pandemic while following strict safety protocols put in place. The Clean Team introduced a plan to increase pressure washing in high pedestrian areas such as transit shelters and sidewalks, as well as daily sanitizing of high touch points throughout Downtown such as trash receptacles and benches. The DDD Public Safety Team also continued to operate and provide critical services such as homeless outreach, business check-ins and SafeWalks to workers, residents and visitors.
The DDD continues its collaboration with NOPD Eighth District and furthered its enhanced public safety services Downtown with the addition of a third DDD/NOPD patrol SUV for officers who are assigned to the DDD police details. Approximately 30 officers provide 400 hours per week in addition to regular Eighth District patrols.
In 2020, the DDD finalized an agreement with the City of New Orleans to fund major improvements to Downtown’s storm water management infrastructure. This historic agreement commits $5 million over two years to install pervious pavement, underground water detention, and larger stormwater drain lines in 19 Downtown blocks. The DDD sees this as the first step in a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to reduce flooding caused by excessive rainfall and to improve the quality of life for every Downtown stakeholder.
In recent years, Downtown has experienced tremendous development progress which can be attributed to amenities that improve the overall quality of life such as public safety, cleanliness, walkability, and new green space with the addition of Legacy Park, a welcomed new pocket park in the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood. These features have brought 7,300 residential units and the expansion of quality retail throughout Downtown, at Riverwalk and in South Market. Most recently, we are excited to welcome the iconic Prytania Theatre to Canal Place.
The DDD will continue its mission to drive the development of Downtown New Orleans and be the catalyst for a prosperous, stimulating, innovative heart of the Crescent City. As we begin the New Year, we are optimistic about continued growth including projects like the development of the Charity neighborhood and redevelopment of Duncan Plaza, and we look forward to working with our stakeholders and partners to continue our efforts to support the Downtown community.
We wish all of you a happy, prosperous and healthy 2021!
Michelle Craig Richard McCall
Chair, DDD Board of Commissioners DDD Interim President & CEO