The old Algiers incinerator, which has sat abandoned and blighted for decades on the river side of the West Bank Expressway near the Orleans-Jefferson Parish line, is expected to be just a bad memory by early May.
Crews began demolishing the structure at 2300 Hendee St. in February, starting with the maintenance building before moving on to the incinerator, which was last used in the 1970s before being converted into a garbage transfer station.
Securing the money for the $300,000 project was one of the final acts of former New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer. The project is being funded equally by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and the Louisiana Land Trust.
“It has been a blighted property and quite an eyesore coming off the (Crescent City Connection) bridge for a number of years,” said Michael Taylor, executive director of the Louisiana Land Trust.
The view of the city from the West Bank and the entrance to Jefferson Parish both stand to be vastly improved by the facility’s demolition.
Mike Sherman, a spokesman for an 11-acre hotel development that is springing up on the adjacent parcel in Gretna, applauded the New Orleans city government and the land trust for removing a key barrier to development in the area.
“The frontage road exit is the gateway to Jefferson Parish, and it’s only appropriate that your first image be an aesthetically pleasing one,” he said, adding that is true not just for cars passing by on the elevated expressway but also for residents who have had to live within eyesight of the incinerator for decades.
The land for the $50 million hotel project was annexed last year by Gretna from Jefferson Parish at the request of the developer, BN Management.
Construction of a four-story, 123-room Courtyard by Marriott is underway and should be finished by the end of the year, and a Homewood Suites by Hilton should begin construction shortly thereafter, Sherman said. He said restaurant and retail tenants for the outparcels on the property will be announced later this year.
Jonathan Rouege, the demolition’s project manager with the Louisiana Land Trust, said the incinerator had a 16-foot-deep concrete- and metal-lined pit that had filled with water and needed to be drained into the sewer system.
He said the concrete and metal beams will be shipped off to be recycled and that the vertical structures should be gone long before the project wraps up, now scheduled for May 10.
Rouege said a significant amount of site work will need to follow the disappearance of the vertical structure.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.