Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Show em what they've won

So the rationale is apparently this.   
One analysis included only the fixed rent being offered by developers -- not including percentages in gross sales and income from cultural attractions, which is more speculative -- along with potential tax revenues to the city. In that review, Four Seasons came out on top.
  • Carpenter/Woodward with Four Seasons -- $400 million
  • Two Canal Street Investors with Hotel Alessandra -- $375 million.
  • 2 Canal Redevelopment with Conrad Hotel -- $347 million
  • Oxford Capital with Godfrey Hotel -- $315 million
  • HRI Properties with Crescent Hotel -- $266 million
There's likely more to it than that, though.  Had they picked a different developer, we'd be reading about a differently scored analysis to justify it.

Anyway, here is a copy of the winning Four Seasons WTC redevelopment proposal. You can dig around for your favorite details. But I'm guessing most of us are curious about the "cultural attraction" they've chosen for us.  This proposal doesn't include an "Iconic Structure" or a Gondola to Nowhere, or even a video wall. 

Instead they're giving us a more conventional IMAX movie along with some sort of New Orleans history exhibit to be curated by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tulane professor emeritus Lawrence N. Powell.  Gates goes on for 5 pages about the exhibit in the proposal.
We see the creation of the Museum as a most fitting tribute to the city as it celebrates its 300th birthday on May 7th, 2018. We want to design a highly interactive, digital cultural exhibition that will be a model of museum technology and information delivery in a 21st century contemporary world, a world in which we, the “consumers,” are bombarded with ever-changing news feeds, with dynamic input that changes virtually all the time. Accordingly, our concept is built on the idea of using artifacts and cultural elements that allow the consumer to redesign their own experience within the museum through the extensive use of artifacts linked to digital interactivity, so that each visit to the space constitutes an experience that changes constantly, underscoring the fact that New Orleans’s history endures in the present and is very much alive here.

In case you can't wait for all that, though, you can always drop in at The Cabildo where the Louisiana State Museum will be happy to "bombard" you with artifacts from the city's past. They do charge a nominal fee for admission but, because they are a public institution, they won't insist on calling you a "consumer."

The Four Seasons proposal doesn't tell us what they're charging for the opportunity to "redesign your own experience" at their privatized museum.  But since they're clearly presenting us with "The Uber of" historical exhibits, we should expect a commensurate surge in pricing.

Meanwhile, the city can begin negotiating with Carpenter and Woodward over the final lease details.  Let's hope Woodward doesn't run into the same sort of problems that contributed to the scuttling of their deal with the airport renovation last year, or we might end up with yet another do-over.

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