New Orleans Citybusiness: Two visions of a hotel at State Palace Theater unanimously rejected

The owners of a vacant theater on a booming section of Canal Street will need to go back to the drawing board on their redevelopment plans.

The Historic District Landmarks Commission on Wednesday unanimously shot down both proposals to convert the Loew’s State Palace Theater at 1100 Canal St. into a hotel.

Plans filed with the city show a new 160-foot high, 15-story tower on top of the current entrance to the structure facing Canal Street. However, the existing Spanish Revival façade on the exterior of the building would need to be demolished so it would match the massing of the new tower.

The theater portion would serve as the hotel’s lobby, with the proscenium acting as its entrance. The first balcony would be adapted into a seating area for the development’s food and beverage offerings. The second balcony would be maintained as theater seating for viewing of silent movies projected above the proscenium entryway in an effort to pay homage to the theater’s original use.

The hotel would offer 248 rooms and would require a height variance, as the maximum allowable height for the property’s zoning is 120 feet.

A previous iteration of the project would have saved the façade but demolished the theater where developers would build a tower, with a total of 108 hotel rooms and a parking structure.

All five individuals who spoke during the public comment period at Wednesday’s meeting were opposed to both versions of the project.

“Saving and protecting a building like the Loew’s is the reason the Historic District Landmarks Commission was formed,” said Michael Duplantier, president of the Louisiana Landmarks Society and a former HDLC committee member.

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