Local developer and HRI Properties CEO Pres Kabacoff once again has some extravagant plans for the city. The Lens digs in on his $1 billion scheme to transform the "core" of the city, starting with the demo of the Iberville housing development on the edge of the French Quarter, which is already underway. Creating mixed income developments is nothing new for HRI but check this: Kabacoff proposes dedicating a wing of the abandoned-since-Katrina Charity Hospital to brain research and studying how hyperbaric chambers can help treat trauma victims. Of course, there's still plenty of room for City Hall and the courts to move in, although the judges who saw Kabacoff's plans "remain unmoved" and are still pushing for a new structure on Duncan Plaza.
Okay, love him or hate him, let's play along. So the former Iberville projects are shiny and new, Charity Hospital is no longer abandoned, there's a new greenspace called Justice Park, lots of landscaping, and "tree islands" along Canal Street. Now what? Shopping. Canal Crossing would have 300,000-square feet of retail space topped off with a 1,000-space parking garage to the tune of $100M. Kabacoff also wants the Claiborne Expressway to come down to open up the Tremé Iberville, Mid-City areas of town and create walkable areas. "This is the swan song for me. I'm getting to be an old hoot," Kabacoff told The Lens. While he does say these ideas are "not a pipe dream" he also admits he "doesn't have a clear way to pay for them." Great idea or ruining the, ahem, heart of the city? Weigh in.
· Pres Kabacoff outlines $1 billion vision to redevelop New Orleans' urban core [The Lens]
· HRI Charity Hospital presentation [youtube]
· HRI Properties [official site]
· All Iberville housing development news [Curbed NOLA]
· All Charity Hospital coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· All downtown development coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· Claiborne Expressway: Should it stay or should it go now? [Curbed NOLA]