The New Orleans City Council gave unanimous final approval for a 5,000 person live-entertainment venue on Lake Pontchartrain that includes an outdoor amphitheater, an open air market, a fuel dock, a marine supply and convenience store, and a restaurant. The project will be developed on a 19 acre stretch of the New Orleans lakefront that formerly included Bally's Casino and is owned by the Orleans Levee District and managed by the Orleans Parish Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority, which has signed a 50-year lease with a company owned by Roland Von Kurnatowski. The stretch has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina. Von Kurnatowski, who owns Tipitina's and the Orpheum Theatre, is developing the site through his development company, Studio Network-Lakefront, LLC. The project is expected to cost $13 million to complete.
Eugene Green, Commissioner of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority, told the Planning Commission that the development would be 'transformative'. Green thanked Kurnatowski for his vision for the site and his willingness to invest his resources in a development that is "already having a positive impact on the surrounding business and residential community". Green thanked NFPAMA staff, the office of Councilman James Gray, and the Board members and staff of the City Planning Commission for their work in making the development possible.
Plans also includes the housing of the National World War ll Museum's recently restored Navy torpedo boat that will offer education and rides to the general public. A second phase of the project will include a recording studio.
Clifford Robinson, long time resident of New Orleans East and the publisher of NewOrleansEast.com, said, "this proposed development has great support among many area residents and businesses. It is a project that will create entertainment and educational value, jobs, and new recognition for a most important area of our City while restoring this site to commerce".