It's amazing. Only in New Orleans. Its more than 5 and a half years after Katrina and we're still talking about the new Charity Hospital. Some folks are even talking about going back into the old building again.
I guess you can thank Senator David Vitter for the latest. Vitter has public come out opposing the new Charity in it's present form. He says it's too big. That the final piece of the financing isn't in place. Just about everyone else, including governor Bobby Jindal, is confidant that the size of the new hospital is right and that the final bit of financing will be in place.
Besides Vitter being wrong, its literally too late to go back into the old Charity. The VA hospital under construction is counting on the new Charity. The new VA and new Charity will share some facilities, like the central plant, some parking, and even the laundry. The Feds would have never started construction of the new VA hospital without knowing the new Charity would be built right across the street.
Building the new hospitals will create 7,600 construction jobs for 3 years. Thats like another Avondale. The nearly 70 acre tract will be transformed into the largest hospital construction project in the world.
When the hospitals are complete they will employ over 5,000 white colar workers with an average salary of over $80,000/year.
The beauty of this deal is not only a brand new, billion dollar plus, teaching hospital, but also the old Charity being transformed into something new itself. A multiple-million dollar makeover, turning the 30's era building into condos or apartments for nursing or medical school students or possibly offices for support staff for the new biomedical district. The sky truly is the limit.
New Orleans desperately needs to diversify it's economy beyond oil and gas, the port, and tourism. The new biomedical district, with the new Charity Hospital leading the way will help accomplish that goal.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun