In a promising development for The Four Seasons, Judge Tiffany G. Chase of Orleans Parish Civil District Court issued two rulings on November 10, 2015 in favor of the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Building Corporation, and Carpenter-Woodward. The rulings were prompted by a suit initiated by Two Canal Street Investors, Inc., one of the eleven original bidders on the project to redevelop the World Trade Center building. Two Canal Street Investors, Inc. alleged that the vetting process utilized to award the project was unfair, secretive, and violated public leasing laws.
The redevelopment bid was granted to New Orleans Building Corporation and Carpenter-Woodward after a vetting process which left Carpenter-Woodward’s development plans scoring high over the other ten bidders, including Two Canal Street Investors, Inc. The eventual redevelopment will feature 350 rooms, 76 luxury condominiums, and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
In one of its rulings, the court determined that the New Orleans Building Corporation was a properly qualified and constituted public benefit corporation pursuant to Louisiana law, despite the arguments presented by Two Canal Street Investors, Inc. The court granted two of the three motions for partial summary judgment in favor of New Orleans Building Corporation and Carpenter-Woodward, including one which found that the court had no authority to outright award Two Canal Street Investors, Inc. the redevelopment bid.
For a landmark property in New Orleans that has stood vacant for years, the rulings were a step in the right direction. With subsequent court decisions likely, a 2017 grand opening might be wishful thinking.
Caitlin R. Byars