The National World War II Museum is located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, and is the leading organization in memorializing the history of the war. The museum hosts a significant number of visitors annually, many of them from out-of-town, and is moving to add a hotel and conference center to their already impressive campus. Palmisano is operating in a Design-Assist capacity to deliver a new, 177,334 SF, 9-story hotel and conference center with 230 guest rooms. Additionally, the project scope includes a business center, 1,200-square-foot fitness center, lobby bar, rooftop bar, concierge lounge, and a restaurant with a private dining option. Construction began in late 2017 and was completed in October 2019.
This is the museum’s first hotel project following the successful expansion of the NWWIIM’s campus. Early in the preconstruction process, Palmisano proposed utilizing an infinity light gauge system in order to construct a more cost-efficient building on an aggressive schedule. Additionally, Palmisano involved key subcontractors early in the program to integrate them into the design process, making the overall design more constructible.
This is a notable project for multiple reasons. Wesley J. Palmisano’s grandfather founded W.J. Palmisano Contractors, then a residential construction company, in 1950 following his return from World War II. This also Palmisano’s premier project to utilize fully integrated BIM, and the firm’s largest project to date.
Palmisano brings a unique story and approach to the project, and proposed the design utilize an infinity light gauge system in order to construct a more cost-efficient building on an aggressive schedule. Additionally, Palmisano involved key subcontractors early in the program to integrate them into the design process to make the overall design more constructible.
The National World War II Museum plans to build a $65 million, eight-story hotel and conference center on Magazine Street, part of the museum’s ongoing campus expansion in the Warehouse District.
According to NOLA.com, about 85% of the National WWII Museum’s visitors are from out of state. Of this 85%, half report the museum as their major reason for coming to New Orleans. The museum’s expanding buildings and exhibits have prompted more people to extend their museum visit to more than one day, Watson said, and growing programs involving teachers, students, military reunions and other groups could use more conference space.
The Higgins Hotel and Conference Center will act to serve these visitors, boosting tourism and directly impacting restaurants, bars and cafe’s in the CBD by driving more traffic through their doors.