Harrah’s New Orleans Casino wants to build a new, 340-room luxury hotel on top of its existing casino site at the foot of Canal Street. The hotel would go up where the casino’s main entrance and driveway is currently located just off the intersection of Canal and Convention Center Boulevard.
Harrah’s is pitching the 24-story hotel to state and local lawmakers as part of a $350 million plan to update its facilities and give visitors more entertainment options outside of gambling, according to a presentation the company shared with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. The plan includes upgrades and additions to dining and entertainment at the casino as well as Fulton Street, but no gaming expansions.
The proposal, which will need approval from state and local lawmakers, comes as efforts to convert the old World Trade Center across Convention Center Boulevard from Harrah’s into a Four Seasons Hotel slowly move forward. Developers filed building permits for the $360 million Four Seasons project last July, though construction has yet to start.
The new Harrah’s hotel would join the brand’s existing hotel property on Poydras Street and include 20,000 square feet of event space, a rooftop pool and bar, and a gym and spa. In addition, the company proposes the following changes and upgrades to the casino:
- Updated interiors as well as new lighting and sound features throughout the casino, including The Masquerade nightclub.
- An outdoor dining addition on the Poydras Street side of the facility. Harrah’s is looking to partner with a celebrity chef such as Nobu Matsuhisa or Gordon Ramsay to help bring together the outdoor dining concept.
- A “Best of NOLA” food hall concept that would feature booths from well-known New Orleans restaurants.
- A new “boutique nightclub.”
- The new Fillmore Theater, a 35,000-square-foot music venue to go on the property’s second floor, which local lawmakers have been pushing Harrah’s to develop for years.
The plan also includes upgrades to Fulton Street, the pedestrian thoroughfare that runs next to Harrah’s existing hotel. The street is currently anchored by a Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Gordon Biersch brewpub; Manning’s, the sports-themed eatery backed by the prominent football family; and Fulton Alley, an upscale bowling facility. Proposed changes to Fulton Street include:
- A clear roof enclosure over the street to allow for year-round access.
- A new music venue that Harrah’s wants to feature local musicians, 365 days a year.
- Introducing a new fast-casual food concept and a retailer on the street.
Harrah’s also planns exterior upgrades, from new digital signage to improved landscaping.
Harrah’s expects the investments will generate about $13 million in incremental payments to the state, including $1 million in new gaming taxes and $2 million in new sales taxes, according to an economic analysis included in the company’s presentation. At the city level, the changes would result in an $8 million boost to city property and sales…