NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - New plans are underway to breathe life into the decaying Lindy Boggs Medical Center in Mid-City as residents in the area grow tired of the blight.
MCC Real Estate LLC, which is headed by developer Joe Jaeger, wants to transform the building at the corner of Jefferson Davis Parkway and Bienville Street into an assisted-living complex in partnership with St. Margaret’s Daughters, which already operates a nursing home adjacent to the former medical facility.
Chris Blum, vice president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization said they invited the developers to a meeting this week.
"The discussed plan for this site here is, you know, assisted living as of now. Moving forward, I think most of the input we’ve gotten in feedback from some of our residents is that, that’s probably an appropriate use for this property,” Blum said.
Blum said residents of Mid-City will remain engaged in the process.
"Depending on the actual application that they’ll file with the city, depending on what changes or requests that they’re making for their plans, there is a built-in neighborhood engagement part of that process that they’ll be required to facilitate themselves,” Blum said. “But we meet once a month, and these [meetings] are open, if they’d like to update people of the progress in a public way.”
The former hospital has been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina damaged it in 2005, and people in the area are fed up with the blight and the other undesirable activity it attracts.
"The access that people are getting to this site illegally, you can kind of see that people are starting to dump trash and vehicles on the site as well,” Blum said.
Local developer Sidney Torres said he welcomes plans to rehabilitate the building.
“I think it’s great news. I own a lot of property around there,” Torres said. “So, I’m really excited to see that they’re going to do something with it, because at the end of the day, you could build a really nice building, but if you have an eyesore behind it then people will always look at that.”
Torres said he has plans for vacant land he owns behind the boarded up medical facility.
"We’re going to do a lifestyle center on the vacant land, open kind of courtyard, different types of local foods, and it’s going to be really nice, a lot of outdoor spaces,” Torres said.
MCC’s VP of Development Peter Aamodt said no plans for the proposal have been submitted to the city yet and the project’s costs have not been finalized. He also said an operator will be chosen for the new facility.
But one thing is obvious, Mid-City is a magnet for new development, especially housing, Blum noted.
"It’s a housing crisis, around the city, of affordability and inventory for a lot of people,” he said.
Aamodt said if all goes as planned, construction could begin next year.