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COVID-19 Slows $450M NOLA Superdome Project

Monday, April 12, 2021

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A budget hearing last week has revealed that plans for the $450 million update project to the New Orleans Superdome have been disrupted due to financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials told state lawmakers that, because of the drastic decrease in events as well as local hotel tax collections, stadium improvements have been slowed and the full project might not be completed as originally planned.

“We took a step back from the renovation project,” Evan Holmes, business operations director for ASM Global (the company that oversees the Superdome), told the House Appropriations Committee. “We’re taking it year by year, step by step to make sure we’re not overextending ourselves.”

There hasn’t been an updated list of upgrades or an updated timeline, however, partially because any progress depends on whether the state still allocates the $90 million in expected funds.

Daniel Schwen, CC-BY-SA-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A budget hearing last week has revealed that plans for the $450 million update project to the New Orleans Superdome have been disrupted due to financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the state’s portion, the NLF’s New Orleans Saints are contributing $150 million and the management district is paying $210 million. Some state officials reportedly now question whether they should be contributing at all and others still note the $15 billion backlog of road and bridge work.

The original timeline for the work had completion set for 2024, before the Superdome is set to host its next Super Bowl.

Superdome History

Opened in August of 1975, the Superdome hosts 73,208 seats and became a “Refuge of Last Resort” for 30,000 evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After the natural disaster, the stadium received $376 million for major repairs and was closed for 13 months while the renovations took place, reopening in September 2006 for a Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons.

In 2010, the stadium received a closed-cell spray polyurethane foam together with a hybrid polyurea-polyurethane elastomeric topcoat in attempts to restore the exterior, as well as provide insulation and waterproofing.

Later, in 2013, PaintSquare Daily News reported on the stadium’s use of Pioneer Athletics’ waterborne paint for the then-upcoming Super Bowl. The paint was specially delivered so that it wouldn’t freeze during shipment and was rated safe for grass and ground water.

By 2016, the Superdome received $40 million for the addition of large video boards, constructed behind each end zone. And in 2017, a $422,000 master plan for the renovation was conducted by San Francisco-based architects Gensler Sports. Since the original plan, officials have reduced the scope of the project in efforts to bring down costs.

The Project

As stated, to cover the cost of the renovation, a borrowing repayment plan is being split between the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District ($210 million), the National Football League’s Saints ($150 million) and the state of Louisiana ($90 million). The plan was approved on Aug. 15, 2019 by the Commission’s panel of statewide elected officials and lawmakers.

The initial plan for upgrades included: completely remodeled lobby entrances, new east and west sideline club lounges, expanded luxury box suites, new endzone field level box suites, a plaza expansion, new end-zone standing areas, a new visiting team locker room as well as an expanded team store, retail spaces and a Saints Hall of Fame.

According to reports, this first phase of the renovation involves the removal of 80,000 square feet of interior ramps and installation of new elevators and escalators. The estimated cost for this portion of the project is $100 million.

Officials released renderings of the updates in November 2019, afrter the approval of that first phase. The renderings were issued by Trahan Architects, the lead design firm on the renovation. The LSED had previously approved local firm Broadmoor Construction LLC to serve on the preconstruction phase as the construction manager at risk after LSED reviewed bids from four other competitors in April. The firm was also chosen for the first phase of construction.

   

Tagged categories: COVID-19; Funding; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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