Yet another plan to redevelop Charity Hospital may be in the works, this time led by LSU and the LSU Foundation, the university's fundraising arm.
The 20-story hospital, renowned for its art deco architecture and the decades it spent as the main health care provider for the city's poor, has stood vacant in downtown New Orleans since it flooded after Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago. Several attempts by the city and state to redevelop it have come to nothing.
The new effort, which began earlier this summer, would see the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation — a subsidiary of the LSU Foundation — take a crack at the project.
The foundation is kicking things off with a comprehensive land-use study of the building, which is owned by the LSU Board of Supervisors. That study will be conducted in early November by the nationally known Urban Land Institute, with a full report coming by the end of the year, said Sara Whittaker, a spokeswoman for the foundation.
Exactly what the foundation will ultimately seek to do with the building will be based on recommendations included in the study and decisions by a 16-member committee that includes state Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne; officials from LSU, the foundation and the LSU Health Science Center; and others.
“This is a big step forward by having a land use study and determining what is the best potential use or uses for New Orleans and LSU, its faculty and staff,” Whittaker said.
Several attempts have been made to redevelop the building over the last decade, though none progressed very far. Mayor Mitch Landrieu pitched the idea of moving City Hall and some local courts into the structure but ran into opposition and dropped the idea.
A more recent effort in the waning days of former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration sought proposals from private developers, but those ideas were tossed out after Gov. John Bel Edwards took office.
Early this year, state officials approved a clean-out of the building to get rid of debris left behind since the storm.