Construction begins to renovate old Charity Hospital
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For 17 years, the massive Charity Hospital has sat idle on Tulane Avenue, but not anymore.
Tulane University began a long-awaited, $300 million project, to renovate and reimagine the old hospital. Work has begun on the iconic building but the impacts could go much further.
Tulane University and a related partnership won the contract to transform the one million square-foot space two years ago.
“My goal is a decade from now or five years from now, you will see that it’s not only transforming downtown New Orleans but New Orleans in general,” said Tulane President Mike Fitts.
Fitts recently announced funding for an innovation institute, designed to capitalize on university resources, innovation, and know-how and grow business and industry for the region.
“In the beginning, it needs to be supporting initial discoveries and figure out whether they could be turned into start ups and facilitating that process,” said Fitts.
The Tulane Innovation Institute will be a key part of the Tulane portion of the $300 million charity renovation project.
“We will have close to $200 million a year of external funding for research at Tulane and a lot of those projects can really turn into wonderful companies,” said Fitts.
Companies that could become a reality, thanks to lucrative bio district tax breaks aimed at rejuvenating downtown.
When Tulane occupies a third of the old charity hospital it will expand an already impressive downtown footprint, which has already surpassed its footprint uptown.
“We have and will have more square footage downtown and uptown. We have 17 buildings downtown. People don’t realize our presence,” said Fitts.
Fitts hopes to keep more Tulane graduates in New Orleans with the help of the innovation institute.
“Our students love New Orleans, they want to stay in New Orleans, 40% of our students stay when they graduate at least for the first three years,” Fitts says.
And they would like to see that number grow with the help of new job opportunities which the innovation center may bring.
Renovation work on old charity is expected to take three years, in the meantime, Tulane will open its Innovation Institute at a temporary facility in the 1300 block of Gravier Street in Duncan Plaza.
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