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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW ORLEANS-Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. has entered into a sales agreement with Poydras Properties Hotel Holdings Co LLC for its 1,184-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The $32-million transaction is slated to close by the end of the year.

The 31-story hotel at 500 Poydras Plaza is beside the Louisiana Superdome. The hotel was taken out of service in 2005 due to damage from Hurricane Katrina and never re-opened. According to a press release, the Chicago-based Strategic reached an agreement in August with insurers to settle a $143-million claim, net of deductible.

After the hurricane, Strategic’s CEO Laurence Geller spearheaded a plan to develop a $750-million, 20-acre performance park to be anchored by a National Jazz Center, the Superdome and 30-year-old Hyatt. [IMGCAP(2)]According to local reports, the center hasn’t received serious attention or interest from local and state governments to fund its construction. Geller says architectural plans for the center, designed by architect Thomas Mayne, will be donated to the proposed jazz museum.

“We continue to be great supporters of New Orleans and the Hyatt,” Geller says, “and our wish is that the innovative and revitalizing plans for the Hyatt Jazz District and the National Jazz Center become a reality.”

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