WTC Timeline


1963: Mayor Victor Schiro and International Trade Mart (later WTC Inc.) President Clay Shaw sign a 56-year lease with rent of $1 annually for the construction of the city's first riverfront office tower.

1967: The 33-story building is completed, thrives, creating a 2019 expiration date which keeps the tower off city tax rolls for the length of the agreement.

1994: WTC officials make first official overtures for hotel conversion to Mayor Sidney Barthlemy, who defers plan to incoming Mayor Marc Morial, who supports the project.

June 1996: World Trade Center officials and city issue requests for proposals to redevelop half of the building into a hotel, with promises of a three-way agreement that would pump millions of dollars into city coffers for the first time, and prop up finances for the trade group.

April 1998: Three teams, two with national hotel or foreign-based hotel companies signed on as operators, compete as finalists in a closed-door, selection process.

May 1998: WTC Development LLC led by bond broker Larry Sisung is selected as developer; selection is controversial since WTC Development had never developed a hotel.

June 1998: a passed over bidder files lawsuit, claiming selection process violates public meeting laws.

November 1998: A lease is inked between the city, the WTC and Sisung.

June 2000: Sisung plan expands to a 1,200-room Crowne Plaza Hotel.

June 2001: The popular Top of The Mart revolving lounge closes.

July 2001: Louisiana Supreme Court rules developers' selection process legal.

September 2001: The 9/11 terrorist attacks freeze the national hospitality market and dries up financing for Sisung's group. Crowne Plaza pulls out.

April 2002: City wins a tax increment finance plan from the Legislature. It allows Sisung, the city and trade group to capture $40 million in hotel-motel room taxes to prop up gaps in financing; Westin signs letter of intent to flag the property.

May 2002: Mayor Ray Nagin puts brakes on project, claiming benefits to the city are minimal; orders Sean Cummings as head of NOBC to revamp project with WTC Development and trade organization.

May 2003: Two development teams make offers to develop site without public subsidy.

January 2004: Watchdog groups blast the project.

March 2004: The Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association files lawsuit regarding tax increment financing of project.

June 2005: Louisiana Supreme Court declares TIF unconstitutional.

June 2005: Former co-owner of the New Orleans Hornets Ray Wooldridge opens ritzy Club 360 in place of closed Top of The Mart; he voices interest in rescuing hotel project.

August 2005: Hurricane Katrina strikes, sending hospitality sector into a tailspin.

February 2006: Sisung's WTC LLC officially pulls out of deal.

March 2007: Eight teams vie for development rights, given 30-days for proposals and 120 days to wrap financing; time window is highly criticized as shutting out potential national investors/hotel operators.

March 2007: Full Spectrum of New York is winning bidder.

August 2008: After numerous extensions, Full Spectrum pulls out of the deal.

March 2009: WTC's famous Plimsoll Club moves to Westin Hotel and opens a month later.

October 2009: Commissioned appraisal says land WTC building sits on more valuable than the tower.

November 2009: Passed over for the project twice, developers Darryl Berger and Pres Kabacoff explore mixed use project, but pull out due to national credit meltdown.

January 2010: WTC accepts fate of losing building, enters negotiations for lease buyout with city, but talks stall.

May 2010. Decision on property, which will require City Council approval, is left in hands of new Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

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