In The News › NOBC chief: WTC lease is better deal for taxpayers

Jan 16, 2009

Source: New Orleans City Business

Filed under: Orleans Parish, World Trade Center

NOBC chief: WTC lease is better deal for taxpayers

NOBC chief: WTC lease is better deal for taxpayers
by Deon Roberts Online Editor

NEW ORLEANS – The head of the New Orleans Building Corp. disagrees with a proposal by the Bureau of Governmental research to sell the city-owned World Trade Center building.

On Thursday, BGR issued a report, saying, “The building, about 40 years old, has passed its prime as an office tower and is in need of redevelopment. But despite the property’s location, redevelopment efforts that began more than 10 years ago have been unsuccessful.”

Sean Cummings, CEO of the NOBC, which acts as landlord for city-owned property, said it would be better to lease the building.

“If you can lease it and essentially receive the same money that one would receive in an outright sale and then do it again 99 years from now, it would seem … that the taxpayers are better of with the lease structure,” he said.

Also, Cummings said, the city’s charter requires proceeds from the sale of a city asset of $5 million or more to go into a trust fund. But it would not be smart to do that now, because of low interest rates, he said.

BGR is “ignoring a few realities about this particular transaction as they advance their viewpoints,” Cummings said.

Plans to redevelop the building stretch back more than 10 years. The project is in limbo after a group of developers who were runners-up in a bidding process to redevelop the 33-story building backed away from the project last year.

Cummings said the WTC organization is evaluating when to begin another competitive selection process.

The building could not be sold without approvals from the NOBC board, WTC and City Council, he said.•

Jan 16, 2009

Source: New Orleans City Business

Filed under: Orleans Parish, World Trade Center

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