Aerial of foot of Canal Street, Harrah’s Casino, 1 Canal Street, World Trade building, Aquarium of the Americas, Woldenberg Park . Shot on Friday, November 16, 2012. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) (MICHAEL DeMOCKER)
May 08, 2015 at 10:47 AM, updated May 08, 2015 at 10:48 AM
The Downtown Development District is working with investment group Starwood Capital to attract national retailers to 26,000 square feet of Canal Street storefronts at the Astor Crowne Plaza hotel, the district’s chief said Friday (May 8).The Downtown Development District is working with investment group Starwood Capital to attract national retailers to 26,000 square feet of Canal Street storefronts at the Astor Crowne Plaza hotel, the district’s chief said Friday (May 8).
“This is going to be the first big domino in redoing the retail future of Canal Street,” said Kurt Weigle, Downtown Development District president and CEO.
Weigle spoke at the University of New Orleans-Latter & Blum Economic Outlook & Real Estate Forecast seminar on Friday morning.
Canal Street is a major focus for economic developers looking to upgrade the shopping scene on one of the city’s historic thoroughfares bordering the French Quarter and the Central Business District. The street is largely marked by tourist and T-shirt shops among lobby entrances to high-rise hotels.
The Crowne Plaza’s footprint takes up most of the 700 block of Canal Street on the French Quarter side. Starwood Capital, a separate company from the Crowne Plaza’s Starwood operator, owns the space, Weigle said.
The retail strip currently houses RadioShack and McDonald’s, among other stores.
Weigle said his agency has worked piece-meal on bringing new retailers to Canal Street, but the Crowne Plaza space is an opportunity to “attract the big dogs” in one group, he said. National retailers don’t want to test out a new spot alone.
“They want to know that their running buddies are going to be with them,” Weigle said.
He said attracting a group of national retailers to Canal Street will be a “stamp of approval,” but that doesn’t mean the Downtown Development District’s vision is for nationals to take over the street. He said he envisions a mix of local, regional and national businesses.
So far, he said, they have come up with “really strong possibilities” and will be marketing the space at the International Council of Shopping Centers retail conference in Las Vegas later this month.