Tulane plans $600M redevelopment of abandoned hospital

Charity Hospital in New Orleans has sat vacant for 17 years. Now, Tulane University plans to give it new life as the core of its downtown medical school, CBS affiliate WWL reported Nov. 16. 

The building — which spans more than 1 million square feet — was previously owned by Louisiana State University in Alexandria and served as a safety net hospital for a century, making it the second-oldest continuously operating hospital in the nation at the time, according to the university's website. When it was flooded by Hurricane Katrina, the cost of redevelopment was too high and FEMA would not pay to replace it entirely. 

Now the abandoned building will become the site of Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine as well as biomedical research labs, an innovation institute and a school for professional advancement. The renovations are expected to cost $600 million, according to the news station. 

However, those plans take up only 350,000 square feet of the building, or roughly one-third of its footprint. Leaders of the development team told the news station this allows flexibility to adjust plans throughout the restoration process. The team currently plans to include a parking garage, 300 apartments and 90,000 square feet of retail space as developers buy other nearby buildings, hoping for a "biomedical district."

"Is the project moving forward? One-hundred-ten percent yes," Joseph Stebbins, a developer on the project, told the news station. "Do I have an exact timeline? No, but we hope to be underway by the beginning of the year."

The building is expected to reopen in 2025. 

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