Thursday, 08 September 2016 13:49
New Orleans NOPSI building being converted to exquisite CBD hotel
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hotelThe historic headquarters of the former New Orleans Public Service, Inc., (NOPSI) is being reinvented as a luxury 217-room hotel called NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans.

Located in the city’s vibrant Central Business District on the corner of Baronne and Union streets, the nine-story brick building originally opened in 1927. It will reopen as NOPSI Hotel in spring 2017 after a meticulous restoration returns each space to its previous splendor, including the building’s street facades, cast iron rails and stone panels.

(From press release)

The NOPSI Hotel will include some of the most refined accommodations in the city – including 74 suites – a lively and regionally inspired restaurant, 10,000 square feet of architecturally significant indoor and outdoor meeting space, and a sophisticated rooftop pool and bar.

The property’s developer is Building and Land Technology (BLT), a leading national real estate investor and developer. The NOPSI Hotel will be managed by acclaimed luxury hotel company Salamander Hotels & Resorts.

A high point of the building’s elaborate transformation is a beautiful “Grand Hall” lobby entrance, featuring a 21-foot-high vaulted ceiling, graceful arches, ornamental columns, wood wall paneling, brass grills and terrazzo flooring.

The historic renovation also includes the conversion of the adjacent and former Dryades Building into the city’s most unique meeting and event space. At 4,000 square feet, this industrially elegant space will even include a preserved 24-foot-high crane and track as part of its décor. 

NOPSI is the acronym of New Orleans’ former utility company and transit operator. Thousands of manhole covers still bear the NOPSI name, adding a sense of nostalgia to many of The Crescent City’s streets. As befits the building’s history, the hotel will provide an energetic base from which to enjoy nearby cultural attractions, festivals, restaurants and nightlife. 

Conveniently situated in the heart of the Central Business District within a short walk of The French Quarter, The Warehouse District and The Garden District, the NOPSI Hotel is located near Lafayette Square and close to major attractions like the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the World War II Museum.

The renovation will retain the unique characteristics of the 128-foot-high building, which was designed by Favrot and Livaudais,a Louisiana-based architectural firm that also designed many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The project’s development team has also worked closely with Louisiana’s State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the architectural integrity of the building is preserved.

“NOPSI’s guests will view their New Orleans experience through the prism of this hotel, which will also serve as a true community gathering place,” said Carl R. Kuehner III, CEO of Building and Land Technology (BLT), the building’s owner. “We were drawn to the beauty and history of this building, and this renovation ensures the spirit of this great city is fittingly captured.”

NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans becomes part of the Salamander portfolio, and specifically the company’s Signature Collection, joining the luxurious Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA, and Henderson Beach Resort, which opens in Destin this November along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“NOPSI will offer a fun and energetic experience which complements Salamander’s unique brand of service excellence and authentic approach to hospitality,” said Salamander Founder and CEO Sheila C. Johnson, who is also one of America’s top entrepreneurs and the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. “NOPSI will become known as one of the finest urban hotels in America, and we look forward to introducing our clients and customers to the unique spirit of New Orleans, while also exposing new guests to the Salamander service culture that will define the NOPSI experience.”

The hotel’s classically designed guestrooms will provide a variety of flexible room types, ranging in size from 350 to 800 square feet. Featuring neutral colors with gold accents, they will offer luxurious and refined furnishings, local artwork and the technology demanded by today’s discerning traveler. Guest bathrooms will incorporate a soothing spa-like tile design, offering the largest, most luxurious shower in the city. 

The ninth floor will feature a Presidential Suite and four Spa Suites with spacious terraces that can be utilized for an extraordinary in-room spa experience, a Salamander area of specialty. With a fitness center, concierge services and 24-hour in-room dining, NOPSI is designed to attend to the need of the modern guest. 

The hotel’s classic lobby bar will feature a new courtyard garden, as well as a selection of hand-crafted cocktails, craft beer and thoughtfully curated wines.

NOPSI’s lively restaurant and bar, which will be called “Public Service,” will be located off the lobby but also provide a separate entrance onto Baronne Street. An ever-changing menu will offer classic Gulf Coast seafood, a raw bar, creative food presentations, hand-tossed pizzas and an extensive array of craft, draft and bottled beer. Guests will enjoy a vibrant atmosphere and regular live entertainment, along with a variety of seating options designed to develop a congenial atmosphere. A chef’s counter featuring eight stools will overlook an open kitchen with wood-burning pizza oven and rotisserie. Seating up to 118 people, the restaurant will provide communal tables, leather banquettes and an upstairs private dining room.

On its rooftop NOPSI will feature an iconic pool and bar, providing a view of the city’s diverse skyline. By day, it will offer a peaceful oasis for hotel guests, serving chilled drinks and creative, healthy fare. But, after 5 p.m., the energy level increases and the bar will transform into one of New Orleans’ most exclusive establishments.

In addition to retaining the crane and tracks, which once transported transformers to storage vaults for repair, the hotel’s ballroom features huge arched windows and a soaring 30-foot ceiling. Epitomizing the building’s historic significance, this unique design will quickly make NOPSI the premier venue for New Orleans’ high-profile weddings, fundraisers and charitable balls. Six richly appointed boardrooms and breakout rooms, ranging in size from 475 to 1150 square feet, will also offer a popular destination for corporate meetings. Groups may also utilize the hotel’s outdoor patio and rooftop pool terrace. 

Construction and renovation work at the NOPSI Hotel site is well underway. The project is estimated to create hundreds of permanent jobs within the city once the hotel opens, employ many more during construction, and contribute millions to the local economy and tax base.

“The redevelopment of the former NOPSI building into the new NOPSI Hotel is another sign that our city’s economy is growing and booming,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This project will have a positive impact for New Orleans, creating new jobs and tax revenue and attracting further investment in our city. I applaud Building and Land Technology for its vision and investment in preserving this historic building and welcome a Salamander property and its owner Sheila Johnson to New Orleans.”

NOPSI Hotel has entered into membership of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, which represents renowned properties that feature the finest accommodations coupled with attentive, engaging, and exclusive personal service.

“We’re proud to welcome another exceptional property to New Orleans’ growing list of hotel options, making the destination more attractive than ever before to all types of visitors,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s especially exciting to see a historic building used in such an exceptional fashion, and we’re thrilled to reintroduce the word ‘NOPSI’ to our city’s vocabulary.”

The hotel’s architect of record and general contractor is Woodward Design + Build from New Orleans, while the interior designer is Kent Interior Design from Atlanta.

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