The efforts of the State of Louisiana and Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, to rebuild, renovate, and revitalize the area surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the years following Hurricane Katrina yielded a unique partnership. Through Tom Benson’s leadership, Dominion Tower and the New Orleans Centre were purchased in 2009, and the office tower was put back into commerce in 2011 as the newly renovated Benson Tower.
What made the entire project financially viable was the State of Louisiana’s commitment to rent a significant portion of Benson Tower in lieu of making annual inducement payments to the New Orleans Saints and to consolidate the State offices in Benson Tower instead of pursuing a more expensive plan to build its own office building. The State of Louisiana also leased a portion of the former retail portion of the property and committed to redeveloping it into an entertainment district to complement and build upon the synergies of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Arena. To date, the State has developed Club XLIV and the hugely popular outdoor entertainment plaza of Champions Square. All of these commitments, along with other local and federal programs, allowed this important piece of economic development for the City of New Orleans to proceed and stimulate further redevelopment in the Poydras St. corridor including the reopening of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.