Thursday, May 5, 2011

"All of this is confusing. None of it follows a path of logic. None of it follows a business plan."

Several news stories have already covered this.  But here's video of the legislative committee hearing from Monday where the state's Office of Facilities and Planning Control made a presentation to legislators on the proposed UMC hospital:

Part 1

Part 2

A few quick items that can be gleaned from the presentation itself:

- The construction manager at risk may still find the project will cost more than budgeted, then the state will work to fit the project into the budget.  In other words, the overall quality of the facility and its offerings may yet be compromised.
- Despite claims of synergy between the two hospitals, Mr. Jerry Jones states clearly that the UMC is directly "in competition with the VA" for construction workers and that such competition is driving the excessively rapid timeline for the site.
- The City of New Orleans has apparently agreed to donate property in the 2900 block of Tulane Avenue to receive the McDonogh No. 11 School, which the state still proposes for moving.
- The state will not acquire Orleans House, which we've known, and confirmed that it will not acquire the Cox Communications blockhouse hub in the 1900 block of Canal Street.
- The state may not build the second parking garage required by the CEA with the City of New Orleans - a predicate for permitting street revocation.  Per Jerry Jones:  “that may be able to be delayed until we expand the hospital”.  "We don't think the other parking garage is absolutely necessary"  "if it is determined to be needed"  This stands to undercut the Mayor's negotiated outcome given the uncertainty over whether the hospital will ever expand, much less be built.
- The state will go vertical in January whether or not it has HUD financing.
- The state still says it will move historic houses off the site.  In the past two weeks, multiple buildings have been demolished.  In the past six months, over a dozen buildings that could have been moved were demolished.
- The state will be "messin' around in the dirt for several months" before it goes vertical.
- Jerry Jones continues to indicate, until pressed, that the state has money in hand that it does not yet actually have in hand -  $135 million more from FEMA, for example.

The follow-up from the legislators is really the best part, however.  That's where some healthy skepticism finally comes into play.

"We're moving forward on a project...and we don't know what we're building." - Representative Fannin

"All of this is confusing.  None of it follows a path of logic.  None of it follows a business plan." - Fannin

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