Monday, August 29, 2011

Not long for this world (and more on the origins of the done deal)

Some 2008 chatter about the fate of the giant old Grand Palace/Delta Towers hotel building, located in the LSU Footprint, dredges up this old image from 2008:

Ah, if only.  Note that the truly "joint" site pitched to the news media at the time did not extend above S. Galvez Street.  One must question whether anyone involved with the project actually thought that the layout pictured above would be pursued when the image appeared in the press in 2008.

In the spring of 2007, all sorts of regional leaders were ready to sacrifice the neighborhood in what we now know as the VA Footprint - and were making official pronouncements and legal agreements in furtherance of construction on that site.  The Regional Planning Commission passed a resolution about a downtown VA hospital on March 13, 2007 - although it did not specifically mention the "RPC" site.  An April 30 Cooperative Endeavor Agreement entered into by the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana's Division of Administration, however, did specify the current VA site, the one that goes all the way to S. Rocheblave Street:

The City, State, and RPC essentially ensured that the jump across S. Galvez would occur.  The "RPC" site, the current VA Footprint, was the only site that they all pushed via various agreements and arrangements for more than a year before the actual "official" site selection from a list of three ostensible options was made by VA.

Given that the City employed over $70 million in CDBG funds for site preparation...and the state had the LSU Board of Supervisors employ its quick take expropriation power to acquire many of the properties...that mattered a great deal.

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