The unpaid president (Joe McNamara) of a newish, unfunded development district (BioDistrict) is seemingly grasping at straws with a plan to build a new courthouse at Duncan Plaza. One idea to fund a new courthouse is jack up civil district court fees (done) and then the future parking garage, snack bar, and copy center associated with said courthouse will help pay for the rest.
True story: The current courthouse has a busted heating/cooling system and there are no private rooms for attorneys, clients, and jury members to meet. This means a new courthouse – to the tune of $105-110 million or so – is perhaps what the doctor ordered.
The area bounded by Earhart Boulevard, Iberville Street, Carrollton and Loyola Avenues was labeled the BioDistrict in 2005 in an attempt to support the bioscience field in New Orleans through universities, science centers, and research labs. Only, the city and state can't seem to scrape together the money it so desperately needs to make the magic happen. Hence, building a new courthouse where the BioDistrict, which is a state agency able to issue bonds, can act as the developer/co-financier/manager, and tap into the money from other "ancillary sources." The other issue at hand, if this even comes to fruition: Is Duncan Plaza the best bet? The World Trade Center building and shuttered-since-Hurricane Katrina-Charity Hospital were once mentioned as site solutions for a new courthouse, but Mayor Mitch Landrieu agreed in 2010 that Duncan Plaza was the preferred location. McNamara's plan will be showcased at a board meeting next month with voting to follow.
· BioDistrict President Finds Creative Way To Raise Money [Advocate]
· Economic Development [Biodistrictneworleans.org]