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The Higgins Hotel New Orleans Infrastructure

Size of Project

177,334 SF


New Orleans, LA


The National World War II Museum




Completed in 2019


Creating solutions.

Clients don’t just hire us because of the finished product; that speaks for itself. Aside from function, Impetus brings an ability to stay ahead of the curve and create solutions for our clients. The Higgin’s Hotel New Orleans would be a landmark project for Impetus (Palmisano at the time) in many ways. This 177,334-square-foot hotel would be the hospitality extension of the National World War II Museum, serving a purpose in both remembrance and comfort. As a new division, the Infrastructure Team had their first chance to flex their skills and expert intuition. Working with the pre-planning teams, they created a cohesive infrastructure strategy with innovative solutions and a budget to meet both crucial hospitality needs and city requirements.

A complex system.

Before the project began, the City of New Orleans implemented new stormwater retention requirements. As an area prone to sporadic flooding from rainstorms, these new conditions mandated the use of retention systems on new construction projects. Understandably, the goal was to prevent the city’s system from becoming overburdened. As the Higgin’s Hotel occupied every square inch of its plot, putting the retention system under an auxiliary feature like a parking lot wouldn’t be impossible. Instead, the Infrastructure Team planned to install it under the first floor of the building. The team began a delicate dirt excavation process using methods and equipment that could work within the first floor’s ceiling height. Once 2,500 cubic yards of soil were removed, the team began installing the retention system. Consisting of assembled cubes stacked together, with stone covering the top, the retention system was wrapped in a rubber liner and sealed with a heat gun to encapsulate the structure. A pipe from the top would bring water in for filtration. Then, the cubes would retain the surge of water and slowly release it through another pipe, sending it to the city. Installing a complex system like this took a high level of coordination. Fortunately, complexity is what we do.

Beneath the surface.

As with any hospitality construction project, utilities play a significant role in the hotel’s operations. Infrastructure, especially in a 300-year-old city, is a balancing act of working with what you have and what’s beneath the surface. The Warehouse District, where the Higgins Hotel was constructed, was named for its historical use as a storage area for products and materials arriving through the port. That meant, for decades, the area had no need for infrastructure. Apart from demolition and excavation work, our Infrastructure Team explored the surrounding system to create solutions for utility connections but found few tie-ins for the hotel to connect to. Fortunately, Impetus’ strength in the planning process and our longstanding relationships with the city’s departments, including the Sewerage & Water Board, enabled us to find a tie-in solution for the hotel’s capacity. As a New Orleans-based company, we understand the power of partnerships and insight. What we know matters just as much as who we know.

Creating a new standard.

Completed in 2019, the Higgin’s Hotel encapsulates a wealth of meaning for both the city and Impetus itself. As a young company at the time, it was an opportunity to raise the bar for the construction industry. It was also a chance to create a new standard for infrastructure work in the city. As one of the founding projects for the Infrastructure Team, this was proof that the company’s signature renegade style could go beyond commercial construction into infrastructure development with Impetus’ self-perform capabilities. Infrastructure isn’t cut and dry in a city like New Orleans. It takes a culture that asks, “Why not?” to meet its ebbs and flows. And with the right people and the right plan, good things can happen.