Monday, September 13, 2010

Today's Update

Crews started in on this 3-bay shotgun at 309 S. Galvez today, preparing it for a move.

Wally Thurman stopped by S. Tonti Street to check up on his house.  The house across the street and the house next door, 223 S. Tonti, (blue, below) were both being prepared for moving.

Crews also continued work today on this house at 2326 Palmyra Street.

Farther down the street, the house at 2224 Palmyra was also being prepared for moving.

The final development, pictured below, is perhaps the most interesting of the day.  Handbills appeared on doorknobs throughout the VA Footprint announcing "A new BioScience District is coming to your area."

 'What does this mean for you?', it asks rhetorically, answering in part with a "revitalized Mid-City."

What it doesn't mention - and what makes it rather creepy and disturbing - is that the GNOBEDD plans, in their vision of a "revitalized Mid-City", would require the demolition and destruction of much of Mid-City as we know it - and not just Lower Mid-City.  Thus, the placement of these disingenuous fliers really is quite a final salt-in-the-wounds insult to the people that remain inside the VA Footprint.

Like the hospitals project, the 1,500-acre BioDistrict is not a wonderful, benevolent stranger to invite into the neighborhood.  The euphemistic language hides the fact that the development of the BioDistrict with its claims of a "land bank" require neglecting to mention that thousands of people live in hundreds of historic homes in the enormous footprint for the proposed project.

It's unfortunate that I have to warn against GNOBEDD.  Usually, I'd be welcoming this sort of development.  I would have no problem if it was trying to redevelop the many vacant skyscrapers in the CBD.  Usually I would see its push for high paying jobs as a plus.

But then again, usually the powers that be would not be quite as brazen in their disregard for the irreplaceable historic communities at the heart of their metropolitan region.  Usually they'd be a little more savvy and a little less cunning.

ADDED: Last evening, I had a chance to look at the GNOBEDD AECOM Draft, a study of the Biodistrict.  To substantiate my assertion above about the likely damage to Mid-City, here's a screen shot near the end of the report that hints at the desire for a sizable land grab:

The fact that there's a district at all begs the question - why not simply trumpet the existing health and science nodes at either end?  Combine that with regret over the lack of eminent domain authority, and it's difficult to see how existing Mid-City neighborhoods - in the Mid-City National Register Historic District - aren't the largely unspoken target.

The report also notes the many vacancies in both major structures and land in the historic Medical District in the CBD.  That, too, begs the question - why the need for a district expanding out into Mid-City when there are so many possibilities in the existing Medical District in the CBD?  Here's a look at the working paper:


Anonymous said...

Being a former resident of lower mid city i have been following this for a while.I saw the larger bio district map some time ago and thought that it was just showing an interconnected area of schools and research.Now i really wonder if they are going to go for an even larger land grab.Is that even possible?Seeing how they slipped this one in,early after Katrina i understand there MO.I think if they push further north they would be in for a even major fight.I could see them getting up to jefferson but after that i think the gig would be up.I am also curious as to what the ratio of houses being moved to being torn down is.Looking at the developments with the tearing down of the lafitte/iberville projects and putting in the greenway,it seems to me that all of this is a large premeditated plan.The other question i have is if the plan to remove the claiborne part of the interstate is tied to all of this as well.

Anonymous said...

From the the start of the project i questioned why they were not using the vacant structures in the cbd.I assumed that they could not get them for the price they wanted and the mid city properties were a much much cheaper price in land size and desirable geography considering they are getting full street use on tulane and canal.I also think the kick back component is much higher for new construction than retrofitting older buildings.If you attend the town hall meetings please inform us on what is being said.Also do you know what is going on with the lsu site.I went by there about a month ago and it seemed pretty quiet.I have only noticed that a few house were turned over to lsu so far.I guess they assume that this section is easier to take over.Thanks