Joined by anchor commercial tenant Shell Gulf of Mexico Operations, Louisiana Governor-elect Jeff Landry, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Councilwoman Lesli Harris, and Topgolf, the action was celebrated as an opportunity to transform one of New Orleans’ last pieces of vacant riverfront land into a hub of commerce, trade, and culture.
“Today we are delighted to announce that New Orleans is rising at the River District,” said Louis Lauricella, Co-Managing Member of RDNI. “The result of a bold vision and three years of intentional planning, the River District reflects the time-honored New Orleans connection points of resiliency and inclusiveness and will serve as a national model of how neighborhoods can be responsibly built.”
Expected to generate $43 million of net new annual tax revenues and more than $1 billion in economic activity, the River District promises a new neighborhood designed to be sustainable and integrated with the surrounding area. The neighborhood will include condominiums and apartments, retail space, hotels, restaurants, sports and entertainment, and other amenities.
“With today’s groundbreaking, our shared vision for a vibrant new neighborhood adjacent to the Convention Center is coming into sharp focus,” said Jerry Reyes, Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority President. “Building on this rare piece of undeveloped New Orleans riverfront land is a momentous project, and we are thrilled to play a role creating what will be a transformative asset for the New Orleans region and the state of Louisiana.”
"Today marks more than just a groundbreaking for a mixed-use development; it represents a transformative moment for our city," said Michael Sawaya, President and CEO of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “This visionary project will shape the very fabric of our community, bringing together diverse elements that will forever change the way we live, work, and thrive. ... As the first shovel hits the ground, so does our determination to create a future that is vibrant, inclusive, and limitless in its possibilities. Together, we build not just buildings, but a legacy of progress that will inspire New Orleans for generations to come."
In the coming months, the project is expected to generate more announcements of partnerships with organizations sharing the bold and inclusive vision of its developers. Plans already include district-wide stormwater management; a large, centrally located park; a resilient power grid utilizing Mississippi River water; next-generation digital infrastructure; and green spaces.
Developers have also pledged a total of 900 mixed-income housing units, of which 450 will be affordable and workforce housing.
Earlier this year, Shell announced it will bring its Gulf of Mexico operations headquarters to a new 142,000-square-foot multi-floor office building in the heart of the emerging River District neighborhood, the first Class A office building to be constructed in New Orleans since 1989.
Additionally, Topgolf will commence construction soon as an anchor entertainment venue on Tchoupitoulas Street.
Construction projects in the neighborhood will kick off after 15 to 18 months of crucial infrastructure work, which includes new roads and sewer and utility lines. The infrastructure work sets the stage for traffic improvements and a transportation system that will feature bus rapid transit, rideshare, and taxi drop-off and pick-up locations, in addition to ample space for pedestrians and cyclists.
"The River District signifies an enormous opportunity to infuse economic possibilities and a range of uses into a dynamic and sustainably constructed community,” said New Orleans Councilwoman Lesli Harris, whose Council District B includes the River District. “I appreciate the developers’ commitment to shaping a vision for a neighborhood that will include infrastructure improvements as well as affordable and workforce housing, so people can live near where they work.”
“The catalytic River District project will undoubtedly be a new economic development engine for the city and region that will create and retain thousands of new jobs, grow our tax base, and diversify our economy," said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "It will also create a new neighborhood out of previously vacant land with hundreds of units of new affordable and workforce housing, new public transit connections and retail, entertainment, and open space amenities. The city has been and will continue to be a key partner in shaping this project, and I am confident that the River District will be a place that we can all be proud to live, work, and play in for generations to come.”