NEW ORLEANS — Yesterday, the Greater New Orleans Foundation (Foundation) and partners unveiled the Spirit of Charity Innovation District Strategic Plan. The event, held inside of the District at the Jung Hotel, brought together over 100 diverse business, political, civic and community leaders to mark a key milestone in the strategic planning process the Foundation has led the past three months. The plan lays out strategies and actions that can be taken to revitalize the neighborhood surrounding the former Charity Hospital.
“The Greater New Orleans Foundation is proud to lead the Spirit of Charity Innovation District efforts because it aligns with our vision to be a strong civic leader on major issues, and to take advantage of great opportunities facing our region,” said CEO & President Andy Kopplin. “The Spirit of Charity Innovation District is a blueprint to create jobs, honor the Spirit of Charity Hospital, and create a model development strategy that will truly be equitable and inclusive for all New Orleanians.
In February, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) released a report commissioned by the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation (LSU REFF) to find an adaptive reuse for the iconic Charity Hospital building. The ULI report called for the redevelopment of Charity Hospital and the creation of a district that encompasses the former hospital site and the surrounding neighborhoods (bounded by Poydras Street, Claiborne Avenue, Iberville Street, and Loyola Avenue).
LSU REFF invited the Foundation to lead the strategic planning process for the Spirit of Charity Innovation District and is leading a separate process to select developers for the former Charity Hospital building.
Prior to today’s unveil, the planning process included engagement of hundreds of New Orleanians in community-wide meetings, stakeholder interviews and online surveys to re-imagine the neighborhood surrounding the former Charity Hospital.
“Together, the redevelopment of Charity Hospital and the implementation of the Spirit of Charity Strategic Plan will transform the medical district, said Chairman of the Charity Hospital Project Management Committee for the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation Rob Stuart. “We continue to be excited about the potential for both initiatives to drive long-term creative revitalization in this neighborhood and the surrounding community.”
“This project has the potential to create jobs that will improve the quality of life for New Orleanians for generations to come,” said New Orleans City Councilman Jay H. Banks. “I am very happy to participate in this process, which entailed coming up with a plan to include all stakeholders. I look forward to the success of this project.”
The collection of strategies and actions in the plan will serve as a blueprint to: recruit new employers while retaining existing jobs; incubate new small and local businesses; train and develop workers in District jobs; ensure equity in land development; center and build on Anchor Institutions in the area; improve transportation; address homelessness; and build affordable housing.
“For the first time in many years, we have an opportunity to reposition the area surrounding the former Charity Hospital as a hub for entrepreneurship, job creation, and education and workforce training,” said President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc Michael Hecht. “The Spirit of Charity Innovation District will serve as a true catalyst for our city and the Greater New Orleans region.”
“Downtown serves as a key economic engine for the City of New Orleans,” said Downtown Development District President & CEO Kurt Weigle. “The DDD is proud to be part of this outstanding team effort to ensure that we continue the growth of this engine and is grateful for the thoughtful work of this committed group of community leaders. The Spirit of Charity Innovation District is one of Downtown’s greatest opportunities to create a model for continued economic growth, inclusivity, walkability, and sustainability, and the DDD looks forward to helping lead the execution of this plan.”
The Spirit of Charity Innovation District Strategic Plan was supported by a talented team of consultants including: Chris Leinberger and Tracy Loh from the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, Lamar Gardere and Rachel Weinstein from The Data Center with support from Allison Schiller of Tulane University, Austin Allen, Diane Jones Allen, and Lindsay Darnell from Design Jones, Timolynn Sams Sumter from Neighborhood Partnership Network, and Jade Brown Russell, Kelisha Garrett, and Steven Kennedy from JD Russell Consulting.
While the Greater New Orleans Foundation is committed to continuing to lead this process, implementing this strategy will require the combined efforts of key leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as more engagement with the public. The next step in this process is to create an inclusive leadership group that will shepherd the execution of the plan which includes identifying metrics to measure progress and report to the public, engaging local and state leaders to develop and implement a TIF district, as well as updating the strategy on an annual basis.
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