Plan to move City Hall into the old Charity building - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Plan to move City Hall into the old Charity building

Updated:
Rendering of proposed plan for old Charity Hospital Rendering of proposed plan for old Charity Hospital

New Orleans, La. - Delon Katen walks by the old Charity Hospital building four times a week and each time he says he can't help but notice it's condition.

"I think it's disgusting looking for the city of New Orleans. You can see green growing on the side. There's broken windows and you can see boxes. It's an eyesore and something needs to be done," says Katen.

The Landrieu Administration now has a concept on the table to transform Charity Hospital into a Civic Center, relocating City Hall and Civil District Court into the building.

Jack Davis of the National Trust for Historic Preservation points out, state and local officials wanted to tear the building down after it flooded during Katrina and several people protested the move.

Right now, the old Charity building is blighted state property.

The proposed Civic Center project is worth about 300 million dollars.

The funding would come from a combination of city issued revenue bonds, state funding, FEMA and historic tax credits.

"It's a solid wonderful building and when it's cleaned up it's going to be one of New Orleans great landmarks. It's in the same bag architecturally as the State Capitol," says Davis.

While the old Charity Building was built nearly two decades before the City Hall building, Davis says there's a big difference between the construction of the two.

"This was built to last forever by Huey Long and his architects. They spared no expense in constructing this one million square foot building," says Davis.

In 2012, the city paid 600 thousand dollars to maintain City Hall and Civil District Court's failing amenities, like aging equipment and elevators.

The city says the idea now is to put a blighted building in the heart of downtown back into commerce, while moving city government from outdated inefficient buildings.

The proposed design calls for city government offices to occupy the buildings top 11 floors. The City Council would have space on the first and second floors.

Civil District Court would fill floors two through eight.

Since Charity Hospital is a state owned building, the city would have to sign a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state to renovate it.

The City Council would then have to approve the plan.

The city has not said yet what would happen to the current City Hall or court buildings.

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