There’s excitement building in downtown New Orleans. According to Brad Weaber, executive VP of the New Orleans CVB, biomedical and research entrepreneurs are setting up camp in The Big Easy and creating a wave of meetings & incentives in the process.
The budding BioDistrict is expected to add close to 40,000 jobs, 11.6 million sf of new, absorbed or renovated buildings and over $3 billion in local investment to the Silicon Bayou over the next 15-20 years. And there’s plenty of action happening around the convention center as well.
“New Orleans is constantly evolving every year to become a more dynamic destination,” Weaber says. Across the street from the 1 million-sf Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Riverwalk Marketplace is transforming into The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk—the first urban outlet mall in the U.S. With 50,000 sf of additional space, the mall is poised to be a catalyst for shopping in downtown New Orleans.
The addition of new products around the convention center has prompted a steady flow of developments, Weaber says, from art galleries and entertainment to condos, lofts and hotels.
“All of the hotels are relatively new or undergoing renovations. We can now touch and meet the needs of every meeting planner’s price point.” Weaber and team have also been working to integrate New Orleans’ definitively spectacular cuisines into meetings and incentives.
“As of right now, there are more restaurants than ever before—over 1,300 in the city with affordable world-class cuisines that are being brought into the convention center,” Weaber says. “Now attendees can experience New Orleans continuously without having to go outside.”