Convention Center Authority Awards Contract for Design Architect; Small and Emerging Businesses Will Play a Key Role

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Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority (“Authority”), the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, recently awarded a $5.4 million Executive Architect contract to oversee critical elements of the $557 million capital improvement plan to Populous Architects, a global design firm that specializes in designing large venues. In keeping with the Authority’s commitment to supporting small businesses, the contract included a partnership with two local firms that together will represent a significant outlay to small and emerging businesses (SEBs).

New Orleans-based firm Nano LLC will assist Populous in the design architect role and with incorporating local cultural elements, and New Orleans-based Landmark Consulting will assist Populous in an owner’s representative role.  These two contracts are valued at nearly $1.7 million.

“Small business growth is so important to the development of our state and local economy.  We are committed to maximizing small and emerging business opportunities between the Convention Center and local vendors, and we are pleased that two local SEBs will contribute to our development project, and in turn create jobs and opportunities for local workers,” said Walt Leger III, Authority Chairman.

The Authority took a leadership role in supporting small businesses with the creation of a Small and Emerging Business Committee (SEB Committee) that has helped establish requirements for vendors doing business with the Authority to include small business partners. Among other important initiatives, the Committee has encouraged the development of the “SEBConnect” smart phone app to assist small business more easily access opportunities, and created the Morial Award, in honor of the Convention Center’s namesake, to reward a deserving small business.

In May of 2018, the Authority approved a $557 million capital improvement plan that included improvements necessary to remain competitive including a complete renovation of all 140 meeting rooms and the construction of a transportation center and pedestrian park that is underway.

“These critical investments in the New Orleans community and in the Convention Center are in complete alignment with our vision to be a leading-edge organization known for innovative delivery of exceptional event experiences in a world-class destination,” says Michael Sawaya, President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “The Authority is committed to ensuring that the Convention Center remains viable as a strong economic engine for New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.” 

For updates on these and other developments, visit advantagenola.com.

For more information on the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s Small and Emerging Business program, visit exhallnola.com. 

About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country, features an award winning staff, first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.  

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.