A city committee meets at 3 p.m. today to evaluate proposals for one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in New Orleans. Three developers are vying for the World Trade Center site. Two would renovate the blocky 1960s office tower, and a third would demolish it in favor of a giant funnel-shaped sculpture, or some other tourist attraction.
Signs have sprung up in yards, windows and Facebook pages across New Orleans, saying “Save the WTC” in favor of keeping the building. That campaign turns out to be sponsored by a developer, not a grassroots community group, as The Advocate reports.
Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins says he’s made a deal with one of the developers to open a jazz supper club in the remodeled tower, should that firm win the bid.
New Orleans Building Corporation, a government group, will ultimately decide what happens. The committee that meets today will recommend one of the three proposals to the NOBC.
The committee’s task is to weigh the three plans on overall merit, the developers’ qualifications and performance history, and the financial capacity and feasibility of the project.
A watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, noted in a new report that the World Trade Center’s value hasn’t been appraised for several years. It says that makes it hard to tell if the city’s getting its money’s worth on any of the proposals.