RIVERGATE FINALLY RESTS IN N.O. POCKET

Published: Friday, May 1, 1992
Edition: THIRD
Section: METRO
Page: B4
Byline: By BRUCE EGGLER Staff writer

Text:

Now it belongs to the city.

Ending more than five years of negotiations over various parcels of riverfront property, New Orleans officials Thursday transferred ownership of the Rivergate from the Dock Board to the city.

The city last week invited developers nationwide to submit proposals for redeveloping the 6.5-acre site. Most of the proposals, including one by developer Christopher Hemmeter, are expected to be for casinos.

Dock Board President J. Ron Brinson told Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, "After 27 years and $27 million, we're delighted to give you back the Rivergate."

The Dock Board built the now-obsolete, unused convention center in the 1960s but has lost about $1 million a year on it.

The inch-thick volume of documents that city, Dock Board and Audubon Park Commission officials signed at Barthelemy's office also puts into effect the other terms of a sweeping riverfront land swap.

The Riverfront Economic Development Agreement gives Audubon the right to redevelop three French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny wharves in 12 to 18 months; gives the Dock Board the right to close part of France Road and France Road Parkway; cancels the 1987 lease under which the Dock Board received 9 percent of Aquarium of the Americas revenue; and gives the Dock Board $13 million that Audubon raised this month by selling bonds backed by future aquarium revenue.


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