The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
|Location||Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA|
The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, until 2014 Riverwalk Marketplace, is a outlet mall located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana. The mall is located along the Mississippi River waterfront, stretching from the base of Canal Street, upriver to the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. It is connected to the adjacent Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel. It is America's first and only outlet mall located in a downtown urban setting.
This area along the riverfront was long devoted to shipping. By the start of the 1980s, increased use of containers in shipping made some of the older riverfront wharfs less useful, so the Poydras Street Wharf and the Julia Street Wharf were demolished, and the land was used as part of the 1984 World's Fair. After the fair, this section was redeveloped into the "Riverwalk," an upscale mall intended to attract both tourists and locals.
On the afternoon of Saturday, December 14, 1996, the M/V Bright Field freightliner/bulk cargo vessel slammed into the Riverwalk. No one was killed in the accident, although approximately 66 were injured, and fifteen shops damaged. Physical damage to the Bright Field was calculated at $1,857,952 (US). Damage to the Riverwalk, including the pier, condominium properties, shops, and hotel totaled an estimated $15 million (US). The freightliner was unable to be removed from the crash site until January 6, 1997, by which time the site had become something of a "must-see" tourist attraction.  The spot where the Bright Field collided with the Riverwalk is marked on site with a plaque.
The Riverwalk closed after 2005's Hurricane Katrina due to extensive wind and looting damage. It reopened in early December 2005, in hopes that Christmas Season shopping would jump-start the area's recovery. Only a small number of shops were able to open at first. Additional businesses slowly opened over the next several years eventually bringing the mall back to near 100% occupancy. The Riverwalk Marketplace closed temporarily and underwent renovations in 2014. With plans to reopen in late spring 2014[dated info] as The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, it will become the nation's first downtown outlet center, with shops including a Coach outlet and Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio outlet.
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