Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeal Affirms – Four Seasons Project Moves Closer To Construction

NEW ORLEANS – The Four Seasons Development Team released the following statement in response to Wednesday’s 4th Circuit Ruling:

 

         “We are pleased that in a strongly worded and comprehensive opinion Judge Roland Belsome, Judge Paul Bonin and Judge Edwin Lombard of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal have affirmed Trial Judge Tiffany Chase’s sound ruling rejecting TCSI’s motion for a preliminary injunction, which sought to prevent the Four Seasons’ World Trade Center project from proceeding.

         “The court soundly rejected each and every claim by TCSI that the award to Carpenter-Woodward/Four Seasons was improper. 

         “Today’s ruling effectively dissects each and every allegation made by TCSI and is a clear determination that TCSI’s claims in this lawsuit are frivolous. This ruling is only the latest in a series of rulings that have confirmed the validity of NOBC’s selection process and its decision to award the World Trade Center project to Carpenter – Woodward.

         “We believe this ruling sends a clear signal that TCSI’s suit should be dismissed entirely so that this vitally important and transformative development project can move ahead as planned.

         “We look forward to doing just that and to helping continue the City’s growth and progress through the creation of thousands of well-paying jobs and economic benefits for the City.

         “The Four Seasons development team remains absolutely committed to moving forward with this important job creation and economic development project once all the litigation issues pending in the trial court are successfully resolved.

         – Greg Beuerman, spokesman for the Carpenter-Woodward Development Team

 

 

         The Four Seasons Development Team stated the specific findings of the Court of Appeal included:

 

• The court expressly held “[T]he NOBC did not violate Public Lease Law by awarding the lease to Carpenter/Woodward.”  Opinion p. 13.

• The court also acknowledged that there was evidence that the City would see the biggest economic benefit over the term of the lease from the Carpenter/Woodward proposal.  Opinion p. 10.

• The court also recognized that a potential delay in this development continues to allow an enormous public asset to lie dormant and not generate any revenue for the City. Opinion p. 15.

• The court also stated that the evidence in the record supports the NOBC’s determination that the Lease with Carpenter/Woodward provides a fair and equitable return of revenue to the City;  rejected TCSI’s claim that the NOBC was required to award the lease to the highest bidder under the Public Lease Law; and held the Selection Committee reasonably assessed the proposals based on the criteria set forth in the RFP and in accordance the Public Lease Law.  Opinion p. 11.

• The court recognized that members of the Selection Committee reasonably noted concerns regarding the feasibility of TCSI’s proposal. Opinion, pp. 10-11.

• The court also rejected TCSI’s contention that the involvement of the City in the process was improper and held that the process used by the City and NOBC was proper. Opinion pp. 12-13.

 

         New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu released a statement on Wednesday as well on the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the City of New Orleans and New Orleans Building Corporation’s selection of the Carpenter/ Woodward developer team to redevelop the former World Trade Center property at 2 Canal Street into a Four Seasons Hotel.

 

         “[The] unanimous ruling by the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal represents a clear and unequivocal endorsement of the City’s efforts to transform the iconic property at Two Canal Street into a Four Seasons Hotel. It recognizes that the lease to Carpenter/Woodward will promote the best interests of the City and that delaying the lease would result in an enormous disservice to the public.

         “The three-judge panel found that the last-place developer had failed to make the most basic legal showing required to prevail at trial. The ruling categorically rejects the plaintiff’s attacks on the legitimacy of NOBC and the legality of the selection process. Judge Tiffany Chase reached similar conclusions in June when she refused to grant a preliminary injunction.

         “The decision also affirms that the NOBC properly evaluated the competing proposals and reached a decision that best ensured a fair and equitable return of revenue to the City. That economic benefit includes not only millions of dollars in rent and a world-class hotel destination, but also hundreds of good-paying jobs and opportunities for disadvantaged businesses to prosper.

         “The City is pleased with Fourth Circuit Court’s sound ruling because this project is far too important to be sidetracked by such a baseless lawsuit.”

 

         The City of New Orleans released the following background information on the case:

 

• Five final proposals were received by the City of New Orleans and reviewed through an open, competitive process and Carpenter/ Woodward (Four Seasons) emerged as the clear choice based on their experience, performance history and qualifications, financial capacity and feasibility, commitment to significant DBE participation and workforce development, and overall economic benefit to the City.

• The New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) Board of Directors approved the Selection Committee's recommendation and negotiated with the Four Seasons on terms of a reasonable lease for market value rents that maximize the City’s return on investment in a way that creates jobs and meets the City’s DBE participation goals. The NOBC selected the developer based on these criteria in an open and competitive process consistent with the procedures described in Executive Order MJL 10-05. The ordinances authorizing the redevelopment and the lease were unanimously approved by the New Orleans City Council.

• The Carpenter/Woodward (Four Seasons) proposal maximizes the NOBC’s return on investment by creating good-paying jobs – including more than 1,600 temporary construction jobs and 450 permanent jobs – and will be a demand generator that attracts further investment across the city.

 

 

 

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