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Salamander, BLT to Convert NOPSI Building into Luxury Hotel

NEW ORLEANS—The headquarters of the former New Orleans Public Service, Inc. (NOPSI) is being reinvented as a luxury 217-room hotel called NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans.

Located in the city’s vibrant Central Business District on the corner of Baronne and Union St., the nine-story brick building originally opened in 1927. It will reopen as NOPSI Hotel in spring 2017 after a restoration to include the building’s street facades, cast iron rails and stone panels. The hotel’s architect of record and general contractor is Woodward Design + Build from New Orleans, while the interior designer is Kent Interior Design from Atlanta.

The NOPSI Hotel feature 74 suites, a regionally inspired restaurant, 10,000-sq.-ft. of architecturally significant indoor and outdoor meeting space, as well as a rooftop pool and bar.

The property’s developer is Building and Land Technology (BLT), a national real estate investor and developer. Luxury hotel company Salamander Hotels & Resorts will manage the NOPSI Hotel.

A highlight of the building’s transformation is the “Grand Hall” lobby entrance, featuring a 21-ft.-high vaulted ceiling, arches, ornamental columns, wood wall paneling, brass grills and terrazzo flooring.

In addition, there will be a conversion of the adjacent and former Dryades Building into a meeting and event space. At 4,000 sq. ft., this industrial space will include a preserved 24-ft.-high crane and track as part of its decor. 

NOPSI is the acronym of New Orleans’ former utility company and transit operator. Thousands of manhole covers still bear the NOPSI name, adding a sense of nostalgia to many of The Crescent City’s streets.

Situated in the heart of the Central Business District within a short walk of The French Quarter, The Warehouse District and The Garden District, the hotel is located near Lafayette Square and close to major attractions such as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the World War II Museum.

The renovation will retain the characteristics of the building, which was designed by Favrot and Livaudais, a Louisiana-based architectural firm that also designed many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The project’s development team has also worked closely with Louisiana’s State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the architectural integrity of the building is preserved.

“NOPSI’s guests will view their New Orleans experience through the prism of this hotel, which will also serve as a true community gathering place,” said Carl R. Kuehner III, CEO of Building and Land Technology (BLT), the building’s owner. “We were drawn to the beauty and history of this building, and this renovation ensures the spirit of this great city is fittingly captured.”

NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans becomes part of the Salamander portfolio and, specifically, the company’s Signature Collection, joining the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA, and Henderson Beach Resort, which opens in Destin this November along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“NOPSI will offer a fun and energetic experience which complements Salamander’s unique brand of service excellence and authentic approach to hospitality,” said Salamander Founder and CEO Sheila C. Johnson, who is co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. “NOPSI will become known as one of the finest urban hotels in America, and we look forward to introducing our clients and customers to the unique spirit of New Orleans, while also exposing new guests to the Salamander service culture that will define the NOPSI experience.”