Friday, March 18, 2011

State Responds on Request to Save McDonogh No. 11

The state, in response to a letter from City Council Members, suggests moving the building.

While I'm glad that the state now recognizes the building's significance, I think it's premature to talk about moving the building at this point - when the funding for the proposed hospital still is not in hand.  And the streets in the LSU Footprint have yet to be revoked.

It also looks like moving might be a way for the state to wriggle out of its legal issues with the Orleans Parish School Board - since that entity is still seeking over $20 million more in replacement costs than the state is offering for the property.

I'm glad the situation is fluid once more - there's a greater chance the buildling won't be demolished than ever before.  But it would be shortsighted to agree to moving the building at this point. 

Someone needs to ask whether redesigning portions of the proposed medical complex to incorporate the school would cost less than moving the building.  If that's the case, then the building should stay put, and an adaptive reuse program should be investigated.  And design is still in issue because of HUD's concerns with the project - and HUD's FHA mortgage insurance remains the essential piece in the funding puzzle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why could it not (again) be a public school for health careers and remain at its present site?

LSU gets the bulk of public blame for the present land grab but they have not acted alone. How much land was already acquired for biomed purposes under earlier city and state biomed development initiatives such as the New Orleans Regional Medical Center and H.E.A.L.? It was during the H.E.A.L. push that both the blood bank and the LSU facility on Roman Street were built.

In the 1970s, H.E.A.L. pushed for a massive 118-acre biomed footprint - a development inititiative applauded by Mayor Moon Landrieu. Decades later, much of the acreage surrounding the replacement Hotel Dieu remained blighted, undeveloped and surrounded by barbed wire.