Public Contributions to Convention Hotel Demand Scrutiny

• Bureau of Governmental Research

OVERVIEW

In this report, BGR provides an analytical framework for evaluating the necessity and size of a private development team’s requested public contributions to design, build and operate a 1,200-room hotel attached to the New Orleans Ernest N Morial Convention Center. BGR estimates the proposed contributions – some of which would remain in place for 40 years – would be worth $329.5 million in today’s dollars.

The report outlines five criteria for analyzing the developers’ proposal based on BGR’s research of best practices for public participation in economic development projects. The report calls on the Convention Center to (1) clearly justify any public contributions to the hotel project and (2) provide ample time for citizens and public officials to review any tentative deal before final approval.

In August, BGR followed this report with an open letter to Convention Center officials regarding their consultant’s analysis of the proposal.

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