Higgins Hotel Sets 2019 Debut

Kay Lang, Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe to Design Hotel Adjacent to WWII Museum in Nola

The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center in New Orleans is on track for completion in 2019. Created by the National WWII Museum to help expand its educational programs, the 230-key property, which broke ground late last year, will be the first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel in Louisiana. Kay Lang + Associates of Los Angeles is drawing inspiration from the war era to create the boutique hotel’s thematic interiors, while Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates from Coral Gables, Florida, is designing its art deco-style architecture.

Named after Higgins Industries shipbuilder Andrew Higgins, the hotel will feature a second-floor conference center with more than 18,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a boardroom and five meeting rooms bearing names related to the content and themes of World War II. The cost of the hotel and conference center is $66.5 million, which includes the appraised value of the land.

“When we looked at our last undeveloped piece of land, we wanted to ensure that we created a property that would economically support the museum’s educational mission, while also enhancing our visitor experience,” says Stephen Watson, president and ceo of the National WWII Museum. “When you pair that with our increasing visitation, a hotel and conference center is a natural choice.”

Brandon Berger, World War II Theatre Inc. board chairman, adds: “In 2017, the museum was driving more than 300,000 room nights at hotels throughout New Orleans. A hotel will give us the opportunity to offer our visitors convenient accommodations in the ever-expanding Warehouse District neighborhood. But the development will also be geared toward furthering the museum’s educational and research resources for students and scholars alike. With this additional space, we can host more lectures, Meet the Author receptions, conferences and symposia right here on the museum’s main campus.”

Kay Lang has been designing hotels for more than 30 years. As principal in charge of the Kay Lang + Associates design firm, she has overseen the creation of independent properties in Southern California, like Paséa Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach and Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. When creating a hotel, Lang provides hand sketches during the conceptual and schematic design phases and selects and supervises the color palette through the architectural interior design development and construction documentation. “My leadership style is to inspire, be a generous listener and empower my design group to maximize their unique talents,” she said. “I enjoy people, I enjoy what I do, and I tend to smile a lot. I start off each day with a positive attitude and work to create an inclusive environment filled with enthusiasm, creativity and innovation.” Lang credits her creativity to her drive. “I never imagine anything other than a successful outcome at the start of each project or initiative,” she said. “If the outcome is not as positive as I expected, then I closely examine what I could have done differently. I continually look for opportunities to improve my effectiveness.” Lang measures her influence by the recognition of creativity and connectivity to the community in which the projects are located. “I believe that having an unwavering commitment ‘to think design differently’ and design places or things that impact design beyond just the initial aesthetics is essential,” she said.

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