Representatives from Harrah's met last Wednesday with officials of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association to propose a new 24-story, 340-room hotel on the site of the casino's main entrance, across Convention Center Boulevard from the former World Trade Center building that is being converted into a Four Seasons Hotel.
The proposed expansion will not increase the casino's gaming square footage but would be a luxury hotel with a rooftop pool, gym and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Harrah’s currently has 450-room hotel across Poydras Street from the casino. The company says it has had to turn away customers because the facility lacks sufficient space.
Dan Real, Harrah's regional president, said the expansion would include a clear roof over the closed-off section of Fulton Street between the hotel and its parking garage to be used for outdoor entertainment.
Harrah's says the expansion would bring 600 construction jobs and add 500 full-time jobs, bringing $13 million more to the state's coffers in gambling, hotel, and sales taxes.
Harrah's proposal also would guarantee the company would pay for the next 10 years to the city for police and fire services provided to the casino, about $3.6 million per year. Under current law, the state is supposed to cover the cost of fire and police protection but has not always done so.
Harrah's is also seeking an extension of its casino operating contract with the state, which expires in 2024.
New Orleans elected officials will have to approve design and building changes.